A longitudinal study of gambling motives, problem gambling and need frustration

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Gambling motives are an important element in understanding the development of problem gambling, yet most of the recent studies investigating their role in problem gambling have been cross-sectional. This study analyzed the links between gambling motives and problem gambling using a longitudinal study design. The moderating effect of the frustration of basic psychological needs was also assessed. The study sample with 1,022 participants (48.43% female, Mage = 49.50 years) was surveyed at three timepoints (T1–T3) in 6-month intervals. The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) was used to measure problem gambling and need frustration was assessed with The Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (BPNSFS). The data were analyzed using a multilevel mixed-effects regression model where PGSI was the outcome variable. Gambling motives and need frustration were the predictors while psychological distress (measured with the 5-Item Mental Health Inventory, MHI-5), offshore/onshore online gambling, and socio-demographic factors were used as control variables. All the motives predicted problem gambling individually over time. In contrast, motives to escape, to win money, and to compete along with need frustration predicted problem gambling over time in the full model. In addition, money motive and need frustration had an interaction effect so that higher need frustration combined with money motive predicted more severe gambling problems. The results of this study provide a valuable longitudinal perspective on gambling motives, frustration of basic psychological needs, and gambling problems which can be used to develop and improve treatment efforts and programs of problem gambling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107733
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Basic psychological needs
  • Gambling motives
  • Longitudinal design
  • Need frustration
  • Problem gambling

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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