A Preliminary Investigation into Motivational Factors Associated with Older Adults’ Problem Gambling

  • Dave Clarke
  • Joanne Clarkson


Little is known about the relative importance of older problem gamblers’ motives for gambling. A questionnaire consisting of demographic items, questions about gambling behavior, the past year Revised South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS-R), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the Gambling Motivation Scale (GMS), was completed by a convenience sample of 104 older adults (65+ years) who gambled for money. Frequency of gambling, number of activities, largest amount spent in a single session and parents’ gambling were significantly associated with problem gambling, but not psychological distress. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that beyond these situational variables, motivation explained approximately 12% of the variance in SOGS-R scores. Unique motivational predictors of problem gambling were stimulation and amotivation (meaninglessness). The results were discussed in terms of activity theory and findings from comparable studies with older and younger gamblers. Health professionals and researchers need to consider risk factors for problem gambling among older adults’ choices of social activities.


Activity theory Gambling Motivation Scale General Health Questionnaire Older adults Problem gambling SOGS-R 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyMassey University, Albany CampusNorth ShoreNew Zealand

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