Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 19–32 | Cite as

Reasons for Seeking Help for a Gambling Problem: The Experiences of Gamblers Who Have Sought Specialist Assistance and the Perceptions of Those Who Have Not

  • Justin Pulford
  • Maria Bellringer
  • Max Abbott
  • Dave Clarke
  • David Hodgins
  • Jeremy Williams
Original Paper


This paper presents reasons for help-seeking data as reported by users of a national gambling helpline (help-seekers, HS, n = 125) as well as data pertaining to perceived reasons for seeking help as reported by gamblers recruited from the general population (non-help-seekers, NHS, n = 104). All data were collected via a structured, multi-modal survey. Participants in both groups considered help-seeking to be motivated by multiple factors (mean of 6.8 and 10.6 responses, respectively). Responses indicative of financial concern were most frequently reported by both HS and NHS participants (82 & 90%, respectively). Over a third of HS participants (35%) also identified financial concern as their primary reason for seeking help and 50% of NHS participants perceived financial concern to be the primary motivator for seeking help in a problem gambling context. Common types of secondary influence (other than financial concern) included psychological distress (HS & NHS participants), problem prevention (HS participants), rational thought (HS participants), physical health issues (HS participants), and relationship issues (NHS participants). The implications for promoting greater or earlier help-seeking activity amongst problem gamblers are discussed.


Help-seeking Problem gambling New Zealand 



This study was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health. We would like to thank Gareth Edwards for managing the questionnaire design process, TongJing (Lucy) Lu, Priscilla Clarke and Papa Nahi for assistance with data collection, and Nick Garrett for biostatistical advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Pulford
    • 1
  • Maria Bellringer
    • 1
  • Max Abbott
    • 1
  • Dave Clarke
    • 2
  • David Hodgins
    • 3
  • Jeremy Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, National Institute for Public Health and Mental Health ResearchAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of PsychologyMassey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryAlbertaCanada

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