International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 474-489

First online:

What Influences the Beliefs, Behaviours and Consumption Patterns of ‘Moderate Risk’ Gamblers?

  • Samantha L. ThomasAffiliated withCentre for Health Initiatives, Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Wollongong Email author 
  • , Sophie LewisAffiliated withDepartment of Marketing, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University
  • , Kate WestbergAffiliated withSchool of Economics, Finance and Marketing, College of Business, RMIT University
  • , Jeffrey L. DerevenskyAffiliated withSchool/Applied Child Psychology Educational & Counselling Psychology, McGill UniversityDept. of Psychiatry, McGill UniversityInternational Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, McGill University

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Gambling is emerging as a significant health issue. Problem gambling does not develop instantaneously and is often the result of risky consumption patterns over a period of time. Early intervention strategies depend on a detailed understanding of ‘at risk’ gamblers, yet surprisingly little is known about this group. This qualitative study explores the beliefs, behaviours, risk perceptions, and consumption patterns of 35 individuals who were screened as having ‘moderate risk’ gambling behaviours. Two thirds of participants gambled at least once a week and most consumed multiple types of gambling products. Participants gambled for social or emotional reasons, with many using gambling as a mechanism to socially connect and interact with others. Perceptions of behavioural control led many to believe that they were not at risk or could control gambling risks. Understanding the range of drivers that influence gambling risk is essential in developing prevention and harm minimisation strategies.


Gambling Moderate risk Risk factors Beliefs and behaviours Consumption Prevention