, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 133-155

Motivators for Change and Barriers to Help-Seeking in Australian Problem Gamblers

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Abstract

Although prevalence studies consistently indicate that many thousands of Australians experience gambling-related problems, only a relatively small proportion of these people seek professional help. This study examines the principal motivations for, and impediments to, help-seeking in a sample of 77 problem gamblers recruited from agencies and the general community. The results indicated that profession help-seeking is predominantly crisis-driven rather than being motived by a gradual recognition of problematic behaviour. Shame, denial and social factors were identified as the most significant barriers to change rather than a lack of knowledge, or dislike of, treatment agencies. The value of early interventions including the screening of gamblers in routine medical consultations and partner support strategies is discussed.