Self-Generated Motives for Not Gambling Among Young Adult Non-gamblers

Rash, C. L., & McGrath, D. S. (2016).

Motivational models have been shown to usefully describe reasons for engaging in addictive behaviors including gambling disorder. Although most scales designed to measure motives have been derived statistically, self-generated open-ended responses have also shown utility for identifying unique motives for gambling. While the motivational structure for gambling disorder has been extensively explored, there has been a paucity of research examining motives for choosing not to gamble. This is not the case for other addictive behaviors such as alcohol use where motives for abstaining from drinking have been well defined. The primary goal of this study was to qualitatively explore and identify motives for not gambling in a sample of young adult non-gamblers using open-ended responses. A sample (N = 196) of undergraduate current non-gamblers, defined as no gambling activity over the previous 12 months, completed a series of questionnaires on demographics, gambling behavior, and alcohol consumption. Furthermore, they were asked to provide their top three reasons for not gambling in rank order. The results revealed eight specific motives for why participants chose not to gamble: ‘financial reasons and risk aversion’; ‘disinterest and other priorities’; ‘personal and religious convictions’; ‘addiction concerns’; ‘influence of others’ values’; ‘awareness of the odds’; ‘lack of access, opportunity, or skill’; and ‘emotional distress’. Personal and religious convictions reasons were also related to lifetime non-drinking, suggesting that these motives are associated with decreased addictive behaviors in general. Ultimately, these results may help to inform the design of prevention strategies for gambling disorder.

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