Self-generated motives for gambling in two population-based samples of gamblers

Abstract

In the present study, self-generated responses to a question regarding reasons for gambling from two epidemiological surveys were combined and placed into another earlier motivational model for alcohol use, adapted for gambling. Of the 3601 reasons, 954 could be categorised into the model's categories: (a) coping motives (internal, negative reinforcement); (b) enhancement motives (internal, positive reinforcement); and (c) social motives (external, positive reinforcement). Results indicate that coping gamblers experienced greater gambling severity and psychopathology, enhancement gamblers were most likely to gamble while intoxicated and social gamblers were more likely to choose socially-related gambling. An examination of remaining motives suggests additional categories may be warranted -- specifically financial and charitable reasons. These findings offer some support for the model; however, it may need to be expanded to account for other motives. The study highlights the advantages and limitations of using self-generated reasons to study gambling motivation.

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