A Serious Videogame as an Additional Therapy Tool for Training Emotional Regulation and Impulsivity Control in Severe Gambling Disorder

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Background: Gambling disorder (GD) is characterized by a significant lack of self-control and is associated with impulsivity-related personality traits. It is also linked to deficits in emotional regulation and frequently co-occurs with anxiety and depression symptoms. There is also evidence that emotional dysregulation may play a mediatory role between GD and psychopathological symptomatology. Few studies have reported the outcomes of psychological interventions that specifically address these underlying processes.

Objectives: To assess the utility of the Playmancer platform, a serious video game, as an additional therapy tool in a CBT intervention for GD, and to estimate pre-post changes in measures of impulsivity, anger expression and psychopathological symptomatology.

Method: The sample comprised a single group of 16 male treatment-seeking individuals with severe GD diagnosis. Therapy intervention consisted of 16 group weekly CBT sessions and, concurrently, 10 additional weekly sessions of a serious video game. Pre-post treatment scores on South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11), I7 Impulsiveness Questionnaire (I7), State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory 2 (STAXI-2), Symptom Checklist-Revised (SCL-90-R), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S-T), and Novelty Seeking from the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised (TCI-R) were compared.

Source: Tárrega, S., Castro-Carreras, L., Fernández-Aranda, F., Granero, R., Giner-Bartolomé, C., Aymamí, N., … Jiménez-Murcia, S. (2015). A Serious Videogame as an Additional Therapy Tool for Training Emotional Regulation and Impulsivity Control in Severe Gambling Disorder. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.

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