Psychological Vulnerability and Problem Gambling: The Mediational Role of Cognitive Distortions

By Lévesque, D., Sévigny, S., Giroux, I., & Jacques, C.

Abstract: Despite numerous studies demonstrating the influence of cognitive distortions on gambling problem severity, empirical data regarding the role of psychological vulnerability on the latter is limited. Hence, this study assesses the mediating effect of cognitive distortions between psychological vulnerability (personality and mood), and gambling problem severity. It also verifies whether the relationships between these variables differs according to the preferred gambling activity. The sample is composed of 272 male gamblers [191 poker players; 81 video lottery terminal (VLT) players] aged between 18 and 82 years (M = 35.2). Bootstrap analysis results revealed that cognitive distortions mediate the effect of narcissism on gambling problem severity for both groups. The level of depression for VLT players significantly predicted gambling problem severity, both directly and indirectly via the mediating effect of cognitive distortions. Mediation analyses also indicated that narcissism had an indirect impact on problem gambling through cognitive distortions for both groups. These findings suggest that certain vulnerabilities related to personality and mood may influence cognitive distortion intensity and gambling problem severity. In addition, psychological vulnerabilities could differ based on preferred gambling activity. These results may be useful for prevention policies, identifying high risk gamblers and planning psychological interventions.

Lévesque, D., Sévigny, S., Giroux, I., & Jacques, C. (2018). Psychological Vulnerability and Problem Gambling: The Mediational Role of Cognitive Distortions. Journal of Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9740-0

 

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Analysis of Gambling in the Media Related to Screens: Immersion as a Predictor of Excessive Use? Full-text

By Jean-Jacques Rémond, & Lucia Romo

Abstract: This study investigates the intricacies between the player interface proposed by the screens, (in particular on smartphone applications or in video games) and gambling. Recent research indicates connections between “immersion” and excessive screen practice. We want to understand the causal-effects between online gambling and the “immersion” variable and understand their relationship and its contingencies. This article empirically investigates whether and how it is possible to observe immersion with its sub-dimensions in gambling on different screens. The objective of this study was to analyze: (1) the costs and benefits associated with gambling practice on screens (2) the link between gambling practice and screen practice (video game, Internet, mobile screen); (3) to observe the propensity to immersion for individuals practicing gambling on screens; and (4) to examine the comorbidities and cognitive factors associated with the practice of gambling on screen. A total of 432 adults (212 men, 220 women), recruited from Ile-de-France (France), responded to a battery of questionnaires. Our study suggests that immersion variables make it possible to understand the cognitive participation of individuals towards screens in general, the practice of gambling on screens and the excessive practice of screens.

Jean-Jacques Rémond, & Lucia Romo. (2018). Analysis of Gambling in the Media Related to Screens: Immersion as a Predictor of Excessive Use? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(1), 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010058

 

Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019

By Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K.

Abstract: This paper describes the design, sampling, recruitment, and data analysis of the prospective, nationally representative New Zealand National Gambling Study. Particular aspects of the study were critical for its success as a longitudinal epidemiologic study, making its methodology beneficial for replication in other jurisdictions. At baseline (2012), 6251 adults were interviewed and followed-up in 2013, 2014, and 2015. An additional cohort of 106 moderate-risk/problem gamblers interviewed at baseline (2014–2015) and follow-up (2015–2016) increased the number of these groups in the study. Measures included gambling commencement, gambling frequency, gambling risk levels, at-risk and problem gambling development (incidence), comorbidity, problem gambling cessation, and relapse. Future stages include a follow-up assessment in 2019 and a qualitative study. The study design enables assessment of population and individual level changes and transitions over time, identification of risk and protective factors, and comparisons with previous similarly designed prospective studies. Methods for enhancing response rates and retention are discussed.

Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K. (2017). Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 15(6), 1242–1269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9843-y

 

An Investigation of the social impact of problem gambling in Wales

By Bev John, Katharine Holloway, Nyle Davies, Tom May, Marian Buhociu, & Gareth Roderique-Davies

Abstract: The University of South Wales and a consortium of 5 Assembly Members jointly funded an investigation of the social impact of problem gambling in Wales. The research consisted of 4 elements: an online survey to quantify the broader base of gambling in Wales; interviews with service providers; interviews with service users; and an evaluation of local density and availability of gambling outlets, including fixed odds machines. The findings from the 4 elements of this research corroborate and strengthen the observed patterns.
The negative social and health impacts of gambling are clear from the many personal accounts provided. These include personal struggles and despair, family breakdown, poverty and growing up with the threat of homelessness.
Gambling is a hidden problem in a number of ways:
– It carries stigma for both gambler and family, in a similar way to alcohol addiction, and certainly how the latter was viewed in the recent past. Individuals are very reluctant to admit to gambling problems.
– The majority of people gamble alone, and the exponential increase in access to gambling via internet websites and phone and tablet apps increases the solitary nature of gambling, and the difficulties in computing actual prevalence. Alcohol consumption appears to exacerbate these factors.
-The lack of specialist services means that there are no databases of individuals with problem and dependent gambling. Proxy services where these individuals may present (e.g. debt and addiction services) do not, for the most part, screen for gambling problems, and there is no systematic identification of need.
Particular types of gambling behaviour are of specific high risk for impaired control and problem gambling. These are using FOBTs at LBOs, and using internet and App gambling sites for both virtual gaming and sports event gambling.
FOBT issues are well documented, but internet and app platforms are increasing access to gambling due to the exponential increase in smart phone and tablet computers across Wales. These technological changes are leading to change in social regulation of gambling as a public behaviour, as well as facilitating targeted and unregulated advertising to potentially vulnerable individuals. Trends indicate that these may include older adults and underage children.
The gambling industry appears to target the vulnerable. The location of LBO clusters in relation to deprived geographical areas is clear. Aspirational advertising that creates false hope could be disproportionately effective in these parts of Wales. The importance of coping as a motivation to gamble identified in the current study lends support to this.
There are a number of parallels with the Alcohol Industry:
– As a legal activity, where there appears to be a continuum from “normal” or harm free use to addiction and dependence, and where establishing the line of “potential harm” can be difficult;
– As a condition which attracts feelings of stigma for both user and loved ones, which is a barrier to seeking support;
– As a behaviour where those with problems present at proxy services (e.g. alcohol problems at A&E departments; gambling problems in Debt Agencies), and where there is resistance by professionals to rolling out formal screening due to skill and resource considerations.
A number of areas of future research are identified:
– Additional research is needed to establish if the trends in this preliminary study reflect an actual increase in gambling risk behaviour, and whether there is a relationship between any changing patterns and increasing access to internet and smart phone gambling opportunities in the Welsh population.
– A wider systematic study of online gambling, the impact of technology and the effect personalised advertising on Apps and tablets is needed.
– There are a number of important and related questions in relation to harm prevention and treatment development, including the potential for systematic screening for gambling problems in proxy services, and the development of early interventions to prevent and reduce gambling harm.
– There are important questions raised as to the effects of the density and availability of LGOs on the local and wider community.

Bev John, Katharine Holloway, Nyle Davies, Tom May, Marian Buhociu, & Gareth Roderique-Davies. (2017). An Investigation of the social impact of problem gambling in Wales (p. 97). Pontypridd: University of South Wales. Retrieved from http://www.mickantoniw.wales/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/An-Investigation-into-Problem-Gambling-in-Wales-Nov-2017.pdf

 

A Comparison of Online Versus Offline Gambling Harm in Portuguese Pathological Gamblers: An Empirical Study

By Hubert, P., & Griffiths, M. D.

Abstract: Over the past decade, gambling has become a very popular activity across Europe including the growth of Internet gambling. Portugal is one of the few European countries where little research has been carried out. Given the lack of studies, a Portuguese sample (N = 1,599) was surveyed concerning their online and offline gambling habits. More specifically, the aim of this study was to identify and compare from the total sample, online pathological gamblers (PGON) (n = 171) and offline pathological gamblers’ (PGOF) (n = 171) characteristics, and eventual risk factors for the development of problem gambling. Results demonstrated that PGON had different profiles compared to PGOF, although there were also similarities. Situational characteristics were much more significant for PGON than PGOF (e.g., availability, accessibility, affordability), but PGOF had higher scores than PGON on factors concerning individual characteristics (e.g., intensity of feelings while gambling, depression, suicidal ideation, etc.). Findings also showed differences concerning attitudes toward responsible gambling measures. The fact that situational characteristics are more attractive to online gamblers confirms differences between PGON and PGOF and suggests that this preferred attractiveness may enhance problem gambling potential. Further research is needed to better understand the interaction between Internet situational characteristics and the individual characteristics of gamblers, as well as the profile of the growing population of gamblers that uses both online and offline modes to gamble.

Hubert, P., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). A Comparison of Online Versus Offline Gambling Harm in Portuguese Pathological Gamblers: An Empirical Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9846-8Hubert, P., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). A Comparison of Online Versus Offline Gambling Harm in Portuguese Pathological Gamblers: An Empirical Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9846-8

 

‘Nothing can be done until everything is done’: the use of complexity arguments by food, beverage, alcohol and gambling industries

By Petticrew, M., Katikireddi, S. V., Knai, C., Cassidy, R., Maani Hessari, N., Thomas, J., & Weishaar, H.

Abstract: Background Corporations use a range of strategies to dispute their role in causing public health harms and to limit the scope of effective public health interventions. This is well documented in relation to the activities of the tobacco industry, but research on other industries is less well developed. We therefore analysed public statements and documents from four unhealthy commodity industries to investigate whether and how they used arguments about complexity in this way.Methods We analysed alcohol, food, soda and gambling industry documents and websites and minutes of reports of relevant health select committees, using standard document analysis methods.Results Two main framings were identified: (i) these industries argue that aetiology is complex, so individual products cannot be blamed; and (ii) they argue that population health measures are “too simple” to address complex public health problems. However, in this second framing, there are inherent contradictions in how industry used “complexity”, as their alternative solutions are generally not, in themselves, complex.Conclusion The concept of complexity, as commonly used in public health, is also widely employed by unhealthy commodity industries to influence how the public and policymakers understand health issues. It is frequently used in response to policy announcements and in response to new scientific evidence (particularly evidence on obesity and alcohol harms). The arguments and language may reflect the existence of a cross-industry “playbook”, whose use results in the undermining of effective public health policies – in particular the undermining of effective regulation of profitable industry activities that are harmful to the public’s health.

Petticrew, M., Katikireddi, S. V., Knai, C., Cassidy, R., Maani Hessari, N., Thomas, J., & Weishaar, H. (2017). “Nothing can be done until everything is done”: the use of complexity arguments by food, beverage, alcohol and gambling industries. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 71(11), 1078. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2017-209710

 

A Pilot Evaluation of a Tutorial to Teach Clients and Clinicians About Gambling Game Design

By Turner, N. E., Robinson, J., Harrigan, K., Ferentzy, P., & Jindani, F.

Abstract: This paper describes the pilot evaluation of an Internet-based intervention, designed to teach counselors and problem gamblers about how electronic gambling machines (EGMs) work. This study evaluated the tutorial using assessment tools, such as rating scales and test of knowledge about EGMs and random chance. The study results are based on a number of samples, including problem gambling counselors (n = 25) and problem gamblers (n = 26). The interactive tutorial was positively rated by both clients and counselors. In addition, we found a significant improvement in scores on a content test about EGM games for both clients and counselors. An analysis of the specific items suggests that the effects of the tutorial were mainly on those items that were most directly related to the content of the tutorial and did not always generalize to other items. This tutorial is available for use with clients and for education counselors. The data also suggest that the tutorial is equally effective in group settings and in individual settings. These results are promising and illustrate that the tool can be used to teach counselors and clients about game design. Furthermore, research is needed to evaluate its impact on gambling behavior.

Turner, N. E., Robinson, J., Harrigan, K., Ferentzy, P., & Jindani, F. (2017). A Pilot Evaluation of a Tutorial to Teach Clients and Clinicians About Gambling Game Design. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9816-1