Types of Change Strategies for Limiting or Reducing Gambling Behaviors and Their Perceived Helpfulness: A Factor Analysis


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Abstract

Gamblers engage with a broad range of resources and strategies to limit or reduce their gambling. However, there is limited research examining the uptake and helpfulness of the full range of strategies gamblers employ. The aim of this study was to compile a comprehensive inventory of change strategies and then group these using principal component analysis based on perceived helpfulness. We also aimed to determine whether there are differences in the helpfulness of strategies by demographic, gambling severity, and readiness indicators. The Change Strategies Questionnaire-Version 1 contained 99 strategies, and 489 gamblers (including 333 problem gamblers) identified the most frequently endorsed strategy as remind yourself of negative consequences of gambling (92%) and think about how money could be better spent (92%). Principal components analysis identified 15 strategy groupings: cognitive, well-being, consumption control, behavioral substitution, financial management, urge management, self-monitoring, information seeking, spiritual, avoidance, social support, exclusion, planning, feedback, and limit finances. There were differences in the helpfulness of strategies by age and gambling severity. Few strategies were correlated with confidence to manage an urge to gamble. Overall, change strategies were viewed as moderately helpful. The top five strategies were all used by at least 90% of gamblers, and these strategies were all cognitive in nature. This study provides important information for the development of interventions targeting gambling behavior. Furthermore, it suggests that interventions for problem gambling should target cognitive, feedback, planning, and urge management strategies.

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