Age is a risk factor for developing pathological gambling. Endorsing gambling as an escape has also been associated with the disorder. The present study recruited 120 people either 21-24 years of age or 45 years of age or older so as to determine how age was related to the contingencies that maintain gambling behavior. Results showed that younger adults displayed more gambling problems, as measured by the Problem Gambling Severity Index, than did older adults. Younger adults also endorsed gambling for positive reinforcement to a lesser extent and gambling as an escape to a greater extent than older adults, as measured by the Gambling Functional Assessment – Revised. For both groups, gambling behavior was primarily maintained by positive reinforcement. However, gambling as an escape, but not for positive reinforcement, was a significant predictor of gambling problems. The present results replicate previous research linking age and gambling problems. The results also provide a potential reason for why that link may exist.



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