Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

James Whelan

Committee Member

Andrew Meyers

Committee Member

Arthur Graesser

Committee Member

George Deitz


Individuals experiencing gambling-related problems are not likely to seek psychological services; therefore, there is a need to better understand how to motivate at-risk gamblers to engage in help-seeking behaviors. This experiment tested whether online messages based on principles of Motivational Interviewing (MI) could be used to encourage individuals to complete a problem gambling screener. Participants (N = 805) who gambled at least weekly and were not currently receiving treatment for gambling problems were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our sample was 63% male, 65% White, and on average 36.67-years-old (SD = 11.40). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three message conditions that all offered participants the choice to complete either a problem gambling screener or an alternative questionnaire focused on gambling-related attitudes. The first was an MI-based interactive message, the second was similar in content but was presented in a non-interactive manner, and the third was a control message that did not include motivational elements. After reporting on their current levels of distress and interest in treatment, participants reviewed the message according to which condition they were assigned to, and finally chose whether they wanted to complete the screener or alternative study questionnaire. We found that the interactive motivational message yielded significantly higher rates of screener completion (39%) than the non-interactive message (28%) or control message (29%), 2 (2, N = 805) = 8.28, p = .016, = .29. Results of the multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that regardless of message condition, participants were more likely to complete the screener if they gambled more frequently (B = .40), with more money (B = .76), were more psychologically distressed and interested in receiving help for gambling problems (B = .39) or had ever received treatment for gambling problems (B = 1.07), ps < .05. These findings provide support for the use of interactive MI-based messages to encourage individuals at risk for experiencing problems to use helping resources. Additionally, those who report risky gambling engagement, and report higher distress and interest in change, may be most likely to complete a self-screening tool.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest