The intergenerational transmission of problem gambling: The mediating role of offspring gambling expectancies and motives Academic Article uri icon


  • The risk for developing a gambling problem is greater among offspring who have a problem gambling parent, yet little research has directly examined the mechanisms by which this transmission of problem gambling occurs. For this reason, the present study sought to examine the degree to which children's expectancies and motives relating to gambling explain, at least in part, the intergenerational transmission of problem gambling.Participants (N=524; 56.5% male) were recruited from educational institutions, and retrospectively reported on parental problem gambling. Problem gambling was measured using the Problem Gambling Severity Index and a range of positive and negative expectancies and gambling motives were explored as potential mediators of the relationship between parent-and-participant problem gambling.The relationship between parent-and-participant problem gambling was significant, and remained so after controlling for sociodemographic factors and administration method. Significant mediators of this relationship included self-enhancement expectancies (feeling in control), money expectancies (financial gain), over-involvement (preoccupation with gambling) and emotional impact expectancies (guilt, shame, and loss), as well as enhancement motives (gambling to increase positive feelings) and coping motives (gambling to reduce or avoid negative emotions). All mediators remained significant when entered into the same model.The findings highlight that gambling expectancies and motives present unique pathways to the development of problem gambling in the offspring of problem gambling parents, and suggest that gambling cognitions may be potential candidates for targeted interventions for the offspring of problem gamblers.


  • Dowling, NA
  • Oldenhof, E
  • Shandley, K
  • Youssef, GJ
  • Vasiliadis, Sophia D
  • Thomas, SA
  • Frydenberg, E
  • Jackson, AC

publication date

  • 2018