To date, there is a lack of research on psychological factors associated with young adult online gambling. The current study examined differences between young adult online and non-online gamblers, using information gathered at baseline and over 30 days during which participants reported on their moods, gambling behaviors, and reasons for initiating and discontinuing gambling.
Participants were 108 young adult regular gamblers (i.e., gambling four or more times in the past month) who participated in a 30-day daily diary study.
Male gender, baseline coping motives for gambling and negative affect averaged across the 30 days emerged as significant correlates of online gambling, over and above other background variables. Online gamblers also scored higher on a baseline measure of pathological gambling. Over the 30 days of self-monitoring, online gamblers spent more time gambling, and won more money gambling, whereas non-online gamblers consumed more alcohol while gambling. Online gambling was more often initiated to make money, because of boredom and to demonstrate skills, whereas non-online gambling was more often initiated for social reasons and for excitement. Online gambling was more often discontinued because of boredom, fatigue or distress, whereas non-online gambling was discontinued because friends stopped gambling or mood was improved.