Predictors of help-seeking for gambling disorder from the transtheoretical model perspective

Abstract

Few gamblers seek treatment despite the severe negative impacts prolonged gambling can have. Research surrounding the predictors of help-seeking for problem gambling is often retrospective in design and inconsistent in findings. This study prospectively investigated whether transtheoretical model (TTM) constructs (readiness to change, ratings of temptations and self-efficacy, decisional balance and processes of change) have utility in predicting help-seeking among disordered gamblers. Community-recruited disordered gamblers (N = 136; 47.06% female; mean age = 44.5 years, SD = 12.8; 80.1% Caucasian) completed three assessments of TTM constructs, help-seeking behaviour, gambling problem severity, and other potential predictors of help-seeking. Informal help-seeking was common (6-month = 71.1%; 12-month = 79.6%); however, formal help-seeking was relatively infrequent (6-month = 22.7%; 12-month = 35.1%). Logistic regression demonstrated that gambling problem severity and the social liberation process of change (i.e. endorsing public awareness of gambling problems or non-gambling role models) consistently predicted formal help-seeking. Helping relationships and counter-conditioning (i.e. engaging in other activities as a replacement for gambling) processes of change uniquely predicted informal help-seeking at 12 months. Individuals most likely to seek formal help have greater problem severity and greater readiness to address problems. Seeking informal help is less predictable but more common.

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