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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CAMH – Validation of the Gambling Perceived Stigma Scale (GPSS) and the Gambling Experienced Stigma Scale (GESS)

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Australian research shows that stigma is a major barrier to treatment seeking (Rockloff, 2004) and may impede the accurate measurement of problem gambling prevalence. To date, no validated tool is available to assess the stigma associated with gambling. This project investigated both internally experienced and externalised (perceived) stigma associated with gambling, as measured with two new survey instruments were developed for this purpose. We reviewed existing measures of stigma associated with other non-gambling behaviours (e.g., alcohol, drug abuse, smoking, eating disorders) to construct items that were conceptually related to gambling behaviour. The scales were then validated by using a large representative community sample (N = 1366). Internal reliability analysis, factor analysis, and multivariate analysis were used to analyse the results and to explore the measurement of perceived and self-stigma in a community sample, taking into account respondents’ gambling experience and relevant socio-demographic information. Results supported a model of perceived stigma along two dimensions (Contempt and Ostracism) and a unidimensional model of experienced stigma. The scales were shown to have strong psychometric properties and to differentiate well between stigmas associated with recreational and problem gambling behaviours. A scale that measures stigma related to gambling behaviour will provide researchers, policymakers, industry bodies, and clinicians with a tool that contributes to a growing understanding of the gambling experiences of individuals and the impacts of gambling on communities.

Source: Donaldson, P., Langham, E., Best, T., & Browne, M. (2015). Validation of the Gambling Perceived Stigma Scale (GPSS) and the Gambling Experienced Stigma Scale (GESS). Journal of Gambling Issues.

A qualitative analysis of South Korean casino experiences: A perspective on the experience economy

This study aims to examine the casino experiences of South Koreans within the framework of the four realms suggested by Pine and Gilmore’s concept of the experience economy. Employing a qualitative research method, the current analysis focuses on how casinos are experienced and contextualized by contemporary South Koreans who imbue casinos with different meanings depending on how the individuals have experienced these places. The results reveal that the concept of the experience economy provides a new perspective for casino researchers to shift focus away from the rational behavior of casino visitors to focus more on their subjective and emotional experiences. The findings particularly show that South Korean casino visitors get easily absorbed in the casino environment, although they are unlikely to be completely immersed; at the same time, most of the visitors remain passive participants in gambling activities. Several salient practical implications are provided for casino researchers and marketers.

Source: Shim, C., Oh, E. J., & Jeong, C. (2015). A qualitative analysis of South Korean casino experiences: A perspective on the experience economy. Tourism and Hospitality Research.

The Relationship Between Distance from Gambling Venues and Gambling Participation and Problem Gambling Among U.S. Adults

In this article we examine the relationship between extent of gambling for U.S. adults and the distance from their residence to the nearest casino or track. We employ data from a telephone survey of U.S. adults conducted in 2011–2013. The chances that the respondents gambled in the past year, were frequent gamblers, or were problem gamblers were greater if they lived close to a casino. The chances that the respondents gambled in the past year or were frequent gamblers were greater if they lived close to a horse or dog track. The effects of closeness to a casino on the likelihood of past-year gambling, frequent gambling, and problem gambling, as well as the effect of closeness to a track on past-year gambling, extended to about 30 miles from the respondent’s home. In addition, the concentration of casinos within 30 miles of the respondent’s home was positively related to the respondents’ chance of being a frequent or problem gambler. If a respondent had no casinos within 30 miles, he or she had a 2.7 % chance of being a problem gambler; if one casino, a 3.9 % chance; if six or more, a 6.2 % chance. The authors estimate that at least part of this effect is causal.

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Source: Welte, J. W., Barnes, G. M., Tidwell, M.-C. O., Hoffman, J. H., & Wieczorek, W. F. (2015). The Relationship Between Distance from Gambling Venues and Gambling Participation and Problem Gambling Among U.S. Adults. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–9.

Gambling and the Couple: Comparing Gamblers’ and Spouses’ Views on Family, Marital and Individual Levels

Open source article. 

This study compares the perspectives of 19 pathological gamblers with those of 13 pathological gamblers’ spouses (N = 31) with regard to family (i.e., family functioning and quality of life), marital variables (i.e., dyadic adjustment and marital satisfaction) and individual variables (i.e., congruence, differentiation of the self and psychopathological symptomatology). Regarding individual functioning, the gamblers and spouses presented with psychological symptomatology, as both had values that are typical for emotionally disturbed populations. Moreover, the gamblers showed additional difficulties with regard to congruence. The results show that the gamblers’ perspectives on family and marital life were less affected by difficulties, yet this difference was most pronounced in marital life. The primary limitations of the current study are regarding the independence of the subsamples (i.e., the participants were married or had marital life partners but were not couples) and the small sample size. Nevertheless, the current results call into question the ‘truths’ that are taken for granted by previous literature (e.g., gambler’s perceptions of marital problems) and highlight the challenges that couples’ therapists face regarding perspective differences in couples experiencing a gambling problem.

Source: Cunha, D., & Relvas, A. P. (2015). Gambling and the Couple: Comparing Gamblers’ and Spouses’ Views on Family, Marital and Individual Levels. Journal of Gambling Issues.

The relationship between player losses and gambling-related harm: evidence from nationally representative cross-sectional surveys in four countries

Background and Aims: Flaws in previous studies mean that findings of J-shaped risk curves for gambling should be disregarded. The current study aims to estimate the shape of risk curves for gambling losses and risk of gambling-related harm (a) for total gambling losses and (b) disaggregated by gambling activity.

Design: Four cross-sectional surveys.

Setting: Nationally representative surveys of adults in Australia (1999), Canada (2000), Finland (2011) and Norway (2002).

Participants: A total of 10 632 Australian adults, 3120 Canadian adults, 4484 people aged 15–74 years in Finland and 5235 people aged 15–74 years in Norway.

Measurements: Problem gambling risk was measured using the modified South Oaks Gambling Screen, the NORC DSM Screen for Gambling Problems and the Problem Gambling Severity Index…

Source: Markham, F., Young, M., & Doran, B. (2015). The relationship between player losses and gambling-related harm: evidence from nationally representative cross-sectional surveys in four countries: Player loss risk curves for gambling harms. Addiction, n/a–n/a. http://doi.org/10.1111/add.13178