Effects of prevention and harm reduction interventions on gambling behaviours and gambling related harm: An umbrella review [open access article]

Background
Harms related to gambling have been found not only to affect problem gamblers, but also to occur amongst low- and moderate-risk gamblers. This has resulted in calls for a public health approach to address a possible ‘prevention paradox’ in gambling related harm. The aim of this study was to evaluate the systematic review evidence base on the effects of prevention and harm reduction interventions on gambling behaviours, and gambling related harm. We also aimed to examine differential effects of interventions across socio-demographic groups. Access full article

Highlights

  • First umbrella review evaluating the effectives of prevention and harm reduction interventions on gambling behaviour.
  • Found evidence of 10 reviews reporting 55 unique primary studies.
  • Evidence relates mostly to pre-commitment/limit setting, self-exclusion, youth prevention programmes and messages/feedback.
  • Review-level evidence is poor, and no review reported differential effects of interventions across sociodemographic groups.

Naoimh McMahon, Katie Thomson, Eileen Kaner, & Clare Bambra. (2019). Addictive Behaviors, 90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.048.

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Gambling-related cognitive distortions mediate the relationship between depression and disordered gambling severity [subscription access article]

Abstract: Background and objectives
Symptoms of depression are highly prevalent among individuals with gambling disorder, and severity of depression is associated with severity of gambling problem. Yet, little is known about the psychological mechanisms by which symptoms of depression lead to greater gambling severity. In this study, we tested whether cognitive distortions represent one such mechanism, as cognitive distortions are key characteristics in both depression and gambling disorder and have been shown to be associated with gambling severity.

Highlights
• Depression symptoms predict cognitive distortions and gambling severity
• Controlling for depression, cognitive distortions predict greater gambling severity
• Cognitive distortions mediate the effect of depression on gambling severity

Article details and access conditions

Magdalen G. Schluter, Hyoun S. Kim, Julia C. Poole, David C. Hodgins, Daniel S. McGrath, Keith S. Dobson, Hermano Taveres. (2019). Gambling-related cognitive distortions mediate the relationship between depression and disordered gambling severity. Addictive Behaviors, 90, 318-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.038.

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

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