“Set yourself free!” Exploring help-seeking motives in at-risk gamblers

Svetlana De Vos, Jasmina Ilicic, Pascale G. Quester, Roberta Carolyn Crouch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: With limited research on help-seeking in the social marketing domain, this research takes a unique perspective through the lens of McGuire’s psychological framework examining the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (or perceived help-seeking benefits) influencing help-seeking attitudes and behaviour in at-risk gamblers. This paper aims to examine the role that response efficacy has on the relationship between perceived help-seeking benefits and help-seeking behavioural intentions. Design/methodology/approach: Study 1 used focus groups to explore the positive influence of help-seeking in at-risk gamblers. Studies 2 and 3 used online surveys to further test the direct and indirect impacts of perceived help-seeking benefits on attitudes and behavioural intentions. Structural equation modelling with multi-group analysis (low/high response efficacy) tested the hypotheses. Findings: Both cognitive and affective psychological motives manifest as distinct intrinsic (well-being, self-esteem and self-control) and extrinsic motivators (social influence) that influence at-risk gamblers’ help-seeking attitudes and intentions to seek professional services. These perceived benefits influence help-seeking intentions directly (for those high in response efficacy) and indirectly via serial attitudinal mediators. Practical implications: The results provide a guide for practitioners to enhance the promotion of professional help. Practitioners should develop marketing communication messages centred on the specific psychological needs of at-risk gamblers to encourage help-seeking behaviour including an emphasis on assertion, affiliation, independence, utilitarian, tension reduction, ego defence and consistency. Originality/value: This research is the first, to the knowledge, to examine the psychological motivations that encourage help-seeking in at-risk gamblers, demonstrating that both preservation and growth motives influence help-seeking attitudes and the decision to act.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1226
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number4
Early online date4 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2021


  • At-risk gamblers
  • Help-seeking motivation
  • Perceived benefits
  • Response efficacy
  • Social marketing


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