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How Do Recreational Gamblers Control Their Gambling? (Preliminary Research)

Although the majority of gamblers experience minimal harm as a result of their gambling activity, very little is known about the psychological dimensions of controlled gambling. For example, there is little research on the internal and external factors that motivate non-problem gamblers to set limits on their gambling involvement. We also know little about the dimensions of gambling behaviour (frequency, amount spent, time spent) that are the most salient for gamblers in controlling their behaviour. To explore this topic, we first developed a new scale for measuring the reasons for limiting gambling. Construct validity of the scale is currently being tested on a large sample of undergraduate students.

Wilhem, A., & Currie, S.R. (2008, April). Reasons for limiting gambling: A new scale for assessing the psychological dimensions of controlled gambling. Poster presented at Alberta Gambling Research Institute Conference, Banff, AB.

Wilhelm, A., & Currie, S.R. (under review). Reasons for limiting gambling: Scale for assessing motivational dimensions of controlled gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies.

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Abstract: A questionnaire was developed to assess the motivations and practices used by recreational gamblers for limiting how much they gamble. An initial list of 80 items was adapted from similar questionnaires developed to assess reasons for limiting drinking. The items were first evaluated by six gambling research experts, and refined based on their feedback. The new questionnaire was completed by 404 undergraduate students, (71% female; mean age = 20.3 years), and the responses were then factor analyzed using maximum likelihood extraction. The best fitting model was a five-factor model, which explained 34% of the common variance. The five factors were: internal emotional conflict (Cronbach's alpha = .85), disinterest (Cronbach's alpha = .79), money (Cronbach's alpha = .64), external pressure (Cronbach's alpha = .64), and recognition of negative psychological impact (Crohbach's alpha = .85). Scale scores on reasons for limiting gambling correlated significantly with measures of gambling intensity (dollars spent, time spent, frequency of gambling). These results provide additional insight into the psychological dimensions of controlled gambling. The new questionnaire may be useful in future investigations on the responsible gambling practices of recreational gamblers.

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