Aims This study was designed to develop and evaluate a self-report measure of gambling motives.
Participants A community-recruited sample of 193 gamblers (70% male; mean age = 35.5 years) were selected to fill two groups according to scores on the South Oaks Gambling Screen: probable pathological gamblers (PPG; n = 154) and non-pathological gamblers (NPG; n = 39).
Measures Participants completed a novel 15-item measure of gambling motives called the Gambling Motives Questionnaire (GMQ), which was modeled after the original Drinking Motives Questionnaire, as well as a variety of gambling behavior and problem criterion measures.
Results An exploratory principal components analysis revealed three intercorrelated factors tapping enhancement (ENH), coping (COP), and social (SOC) motives, respectively. Each GMQ subscale showed good internal consistency (alphas > 0.80). The PPG group scored higher on all three scales than the NPG group, with larger differences for ENH and COP. In line with the clinical literature, PPG women scored higher than PPG men on the COP subscale but also, unexpectedly, on the SOC subscale. In concurrent validity analyses, ENH consistently predicted greater gambling behavior, and COP and ENH consistently predicted more severe gambling problems. With gambling behavior levels controlled, only COP remained a significant predictor of gambling problem severity. Finally, gender interacted with gambling motives in predicting gambling problem severity: COP predicted gambling problems more strongly in women, whereas ENH predicted gambling problems more strongly in men.
Conclusions The GMQ appears to be a promising tool for both research and clinical applications with problem gamblers.