The Categorical Stability of Gambling Motives Among Community-Recruited Gamblers: A Longitudinal Assessment

Abstract

Over the past decade, several motivational models have been proposed to explain the role of motives in gambling disorder. In the model captured by the four-factor Gambling Motives Questionnaire Financial (GMQ-F), gamblers are described as being primarily motivated to gamble for ‘coping’, ‘enhancement’, ‘social’, and ‘financial’ reasons. Although this model has received significant empirical support; to date, research assessing the role of motives in gambling disorder has been primarily cross-sectional in nature. Thus, the extent to which gambling motives remain stable over time has yet to be explored. In the current study, the stability versus fluidity of self-assessed gambling motives was investigated using the Quinte Longitudinal Study, a longitudinal dataset of gambling behaviour collected over 5 years. Gambling motives of 2795 gamblers were examined over all five annual assessments. The total proportion of gamblers who stayed in the same primary motive category across each of the 5 consecutive assessments was 22%, indicating substantial fluidity in category membership. Substantial movement between categories was seen for each GMQ-F group, as well as an additional group of non-classified motives. Logistic regression analyses suggest that greater resistance to gambling fallacies significantly predicted stability between the baseline assessment and a follow-up 1 year later, but gambling severity did not. Potential limitations in the study design and opportunities for future research are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Respondents who provided ‘1 primary motive’ were compared to those who provided ‘more than 1 motive’ on sex, age, PGSI score, and number of gambling activities. There was no differences on sex, χ 2 (1) = 2.22, p = 0.137. However, there was an age difference with those having 1 motive (M = 46.8, SD = 13.4) being significantly older than gamblers with more than 1 motive (M = 42.5, SD = 14.4), t(3,057) = 7.52, p < 0.001. The groups also differed on indices of gambling intensity. Gamblers with more than one motive (M = 1.2 SD = 2.2 vs. M = 0.8, SD = 1.9) had significantly higher PGSI scores [t(3,057) = 4.77, p < 0.001] and number of gambling activities (M = 3.7, SD = 1.6 vs. M = 3.2, SD = 1.5) in the past 12 months, t(3,507) = 7.94, p < 0.001.

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Acknowledgements

The present research was supported by Gambling Research Exchange Ontario (GREO). The authors also wish to thank Nicole Romanow, Christina Rash, Emma Ritchie, and Celina Boothby for their valuable help.

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Correspondence to Daniel S. McGrath.

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McGrath, D.S., Konkolÿ Thege, B. The Categorical Stability of Gambling Motives Among Community-Recruited Gamblers: A Longitudinal Assessment. J Gambl Stud 34, 21–38 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9687-1

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Keywords

  • Reasons for gambling
  • Gambling motives
  • Gambling disorder
  • Longitudinal design
  • Group stability