Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 337–350 | Cite as

The Problem with Self-Forgiveness: Forgiving the Self Deters Readiness to Change Among Gamblers

  • Erinn C. Squires
  • Travis Sztainert
  • Nathalie R. Gillen
  • Julie Caouette
  • Michael J. A. WohlEmail author
Original Paper


Self-forgiveness is generally understood to be a mechanism that restores and improves the self. In the current study, we examine the possible deleterious consequences of forgiving the self among gamblers—specifically in regard to gamblers’ readiness to change their problematic behavior. At a large Canadian university, 110 young adult gamblers’ level of gambling pathology was assessed, along with their readiness to change and self-forgiveness for their gambling. Participants were 33 females and 75 males (2 unspecified) with a mean age of 20.33. Results revealed that level of pathology (at risk vs. problem gamblers) significantly predicted increased readiness to change. Self-forgiveness mediated this relationship, such that level of gambling pathology increased readiness to change to the extent that participants were relatively unforgiving of their gambling. Implications for seeking professional assistance as well as treatment and recovery are discussed.


Gambling Forgiveness Self-forgiveness Readiness to change Transtheoretical model 



This research was supported by a research grant from the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (#2345) to Michael J. A. Wohl.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erinn C. Squires
    • 1
  • Travis Sztainert
    • 1
  • Nathalie R. Gillen
    • 1
  • Julie Caouette
    • 1
  • Michael J. A. Wohl
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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