Current suicidal ideation in treatment-seeking individuals in the United Kingdom with gambling problems

By Silvia Ronzitti, Emiliano Soldini, Neil Smith, Marc N. Potenza, Massimo Clerici, and Henrietta Bowden-Jones.

Background: Studies show higher lifetime prevalence of suicidality in individuals with pathological gambling. However, less is known about the relationship between pathological gambling and current suicidal ideation.

Objectives: We investigated socio-demographic, clinical and gambling-related variables associated with suicidality in treatment-seeking individuals.

Methods: Bivariate analyses and logistic regression models were generated on data from 903 individuals to identify measures associated with aspects of suicidality.

Results: Forty-six percent of patients reported current suicidal ideation. People with current suicidal thoughts were more likely to report greater problem-gambling severity (p < 0.001), depression (p < 0.001) and anxiety (p < 0.001) compared to those without suicidality. Logistic regression models suggested that past suicidal ideation (p < 0.001) and higher anxiety (p < 0.05) may be predictive factors of current suicidality.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the severity of anxiety disorder, along with a lifetime history of suicidal ideation, may help to identify treatment-seeking individuals with pathological gambling with a higher risk of suicidality, highlighting the importance of assessing suicidal ideation in clinical settings.

Ronzitti, S., Soldini, E., Smith, N., Potenza, M. N., Clerici, M., & Bowden-Jones, H. (2017). Current suicidal ideation in treatment-seeking individuals in the United Kingdom with gambling problems. Addictive Behaviors, 74, 33–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.05.032

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Understanding the psychology of mobile gambling: A behavioural synthesis (full text)

Richard J. E. James, Claire O’Malley, Richard J. Tunney

This manuscript reviews the extant literature on key issues related to mobile gambling and considers whether the potential risks of harm emerging from this platform are driven by pre-existing comorbidities or by psychological processes unique to mobile gambling. We propose an account based on associative learning that suggests this form of gambling is likely to show distinctiv

e features compared with other gambling technologies. Smartphones are a rapidly growing platform on which individuals can gamble using specifically designed applications, adapted websites or text messaging. This review considers how mobile phone use interacts with psychological processes relevant to gambling, the games users are likely to play on smartphones, and the interactions afforded by smartphones. Our interpretation of the evidence is that the schedules of reinforcement found in gambling interact with the ways in which people tend to use smartphones that may expedite the acquisition of maladaptive learned behaviours such as problem gambling. This account is consistent with existing theories and frameworks of problem gambling and has relevance to other forms of mobile phone use.

The intergenerational transmission of problem gambling: The mediating role of parental psychopathology

The present study investigated the intergenerational transmission of problem gambling and the potential mediating role of parental psychopathology (problem drinking, drug use problems, and mental health issues). The study comprised 3953 participants (1938 males, 2015 females) recruited from a large-scale Australian community telephone survey of adults retrospectively reporting on parental problem gambling and psychopathology during their childhood. Overall, 4.0% [95%CI 3.0, 5.0] (n = 157) of participants reported paternal problem gambling and 1.7% [95%CI 1.0, 2.0] (n = 68) reported maternal problem gambling. Compared to their peers, participants reporting paternal problem gambling were 5.1 times more likely to be moderate risk gamblers and 10.7 times more likely to be problem gamblers. Participants reporting maternal problem gambling were 1.7 times more likely to be moderate risk gamblers and 10.6 times more likely to be problem gamblers. The results revealed that the relationships between paternal-and-participant and maternal-and-participant problem gambling were significant, but that only the relationship between paternal-and-participant problem gambling remained statistically significant after controlling for maternal problem gambling and sociodemographic factors. Paternal problem drinking and maternal drug use problems partially mediated the relationship between paternal-and-participant problem gambling, and fully mediated the relationship between maternal-and-participant problem gambling. In contrast, parental mental health issues failed to significantly mediate the transmission of gambling problems by either parent. When parental problem gambling was the mediator, there was full mediation of the effect between parental psychopathology and offspring problem gambling for fathers but not mothers. Overall, the study highlights the vulnerability of children from problem gambling households and suggests that it would be of value to target prevention and intervention efforts towards this cohort.

The relationship between gambling attitudes, involvement, and problems in adolescence: Examining the moderating role of coping strategies and parenting styles

Several factors are associated with an increased risk of adolescent problem gambling, including positive gambling attitudes, higher levels of gambling involvement, ineffective coping strategies and unhelpful parenting practices. It is less clear, however, how these factors interact or influence each other in the development of problem gambling behavior during adolescence. The aim of the current study was to simultaneously explore these predictors, with a particular focus on the extent to which coping skills and parenting styles may moderate the expected association between gambling involvement and gambling problems…

Source: Dixon, R. W., Youssef, G. J., Hasking, P., Yücel, M., Jackson, A. C., & Dowling, N. A. (n.d.). The relationship between gambling attitudes, involvement, and problems in adolescence: Examining the moderating role of coping strategies and parenting styles. Addictive Behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.02.011

Validation of the 8-item attitudes towards gambling scale (ATGS-8) in a British population survey

Introduction

Public opinions concerning gambling are an important factor in shaping public policy. Little empirical attention has been given to assessing gambling attitudes within the general population. The aim of the present study is to validate the 8-item Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale (ATGS-8) in British individuals and to investigate associations of these attitudes with frequency of gambling and gambling problems.

Methods

Data were derived from 7746 individuals participating in the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010, a comprehensive interview-based survey conducted in Great Britain between November 2009 and May 2010. Confirmatory factor analysis and separate regression analyses were applied…

Source: Canale, N., Vieno, A., Pastore, M., Ghisi, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (n.d.). Validation of the 8-item attitudes towards gambling scale (ATGS-8) in a British population survey. Addictive Behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.12.009

Virtual addictions: An examination of problematic social casino game use among at-risk gamblers

The overlap of gaming and gambling activities within online digital technologies is of growing relevance to the study of technological addictions. Social casino games are immensely popular ‘free to play’ games that offer realistic emulation of financial gambling activities. Their structural similarities might suggest that engagement in social casino games may be particularly risky for people with existing gambling problems. Currently it is not known whether social casino games are used problematically by individuals who also experience problematic gambling, the extent of this overlap, the characteristics of those who experience problems with both activities, and the symptoms of problematic social casino game use they experience. An online survey was administered to Internet users (N = 1554) to assess social casino game use and associated problems. This study examined a subsample of 176 adults who played social casino games and reported self-identified gambling problems. The results indicated that a greater frequency and diversity of social casino game playing and more frequent and larger expenditure on social casino games was significantly positively associated with symptom severity of problematic social casino game use…

Source: Gainsbury, S. M., King, D. L., Russell, A. M. T., Delfabbro, P., & Hing, N. (n.d.). Virtual addictions: An examination of problematic social casino game use among at-risk gamblers. Addictive Behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.12.007