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The impact of message framing on problem recognition amongst problem and at-risk gamblers

The impact of message framing on problem recognition amongst problem and at-risk gamblers

This piece of research will explore the impact of the phrasing and positioning of messages designed to encourage safer gambling, in order to support the development of future public health campaigns in this area.

This project aims to address important questions related to the way in which “safe” or “responsible” gambling is promoted, with a particular focus on the way that “problem gambling” is framed, as well as the way in which gambling or betting identities are made central to a campaign.

The Research

There is an existing evidence base which shows that public health campaigns can be effective in changing health behaviours in areas such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Evidence from these sectors shows that if campaign messages are not worded appropriately, individuals may recognise that certain behaviours carry a degree of risk but may not see themselves as being likely to experience these adverse consequences. Previous research has shown that it is possible to influence the likelihood that an individual will recognise problems in their own behaviour as a function of the way in which messages are framed: however, the implications of this have not yet been explored in the field of gambling.

The results of the study will build the evidence base regarding awareness of problems associated with gambling more widely,  provide practical guidance on the optimal way of framing problem gaming in health messaging, and also determine whether the dominance of particular identities makes different groups of gamblers more or less likely to acknowledge their own problems.

The first phase of the study will engage with a wide audience of individuals who participate in any type of gambling or betting activity through an online survey. The survey will provide some important insights into harm awareness and identities of gamblers from those who gamble infrequently, to those who may be experiencing problems with gambling.  The second phase will involve a quantitative online panel study which will test the effects of framing safer gambling messages on problem recognition amongst at-risk gamblers. The messages used in this phase will be built on insights developed from the first phase, involving a group of subject experts and experts with lived experience of problem gambling.


A quantitative survey and online experimental study.