Perceived religious support for problem gambling: Does church doctrine influence help-seeking?

Abstract

This project explored church members' willingness to use religious resources to overcome a gambling problem. Participants from congregations with divergent doctrine on gambling (Roman Catholic, n = 156; Southern Baptist, n = 93) were randomly assigned to imagine having gambling or depression problems. Expected religious support and the likelihood of asking for help were evaluated using analysis of variance. Church doctrine on gambling did not relate with anticipated social support or likelihood of seeking help. Most participants expected support from church, and were willing to seek help from church members. Southern Baptists, compared to Catholics, did expect more forgiveness. Participants in the gambling condition, compared to the depression condition, expected more judgement. Individuals in the gambling condition, compared to the depression condition, were more likely to seek help from church resources. These findings suggest that religious individuals view gambling as a moral problem, and that the church will be seen as a treatment resource.

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