Three-month study of college student disordered gambling using the transtheoretical model: Findings and lessons learned

Abstract

Problem: It has been suggested that gambling-related research more closely examine vulnerable population segments. Research indicates that college students are particularly vulnerable to experiencing disordered gambling behavior. Methods: We examined the gambling behavior and gambling-related Transthe-oretical Model (TTM) construct (i.e., stage of readiness to change, and self-efficacy) scores of a sample of disordered college student gamblers (n = 20) over a 3-month period. We used existing validated instruments to assess gambling frequency, gambling problems and gambling-related TTM constructs among participants of our sample at 3 times over a 3-month period. Results: Findings indicate evidence that the gambling behavior of disordered college student gamblers fluctuates and often becomes more or less serious from month to month. In addition, several students (n=5) who screened as experiencing disordered gambling in their lifetimes, were no longer experiencing gambling-related problems when this study was conducted. Conclusions: Regarding examinations of low base rate disorders, including disordered gambling, we suggest that those interested in doing so screen from as large a participant pool as possible to assure an adequate sample.

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