By S. Cowlishaw, E. Nespoli, J.K. Jebadurai, N. Smith, and H. Bowden-Jones.
The DSM-5 includes provisions for episodic forms of gambling disorder, with such changes aligned with earlier accounts of potential binge gambling behaviours. However, there is little research that indicates the utility of these classifications of episodic or binge gambling, and this study considered their characteristics in a clinical sample. It involved administration of a new binge gambling screening tool, along with routine measures, to n = 214 patients entering a specialist treatment clinic for gambling problems. Results indicated that episodic gambling was common in this clinical context, with 28 and 32% of patients reporting gambling episodes that were (a) regular and alternating, and (b) irregular and intermittent, respectively. These patterns were distinguished by factors including associations with covariates that indicated differences from continuous gamblers. For example, the irregular episodic gamblers, but not the regular pattern, demonstrated lower levels of problem gambling severity and comorbidity. Rates of potential binge gambling, which was defined in terms of additional criteria, were around 4% and numbers were insufficient for comparable analyses. The findings support inclusion of episodic forms of gambling disorder in the DSM-5, but highlight the need for improved recognition and research on heterogeneous forms of episodic gambling.
In the current research, we examined whether the known link between relative deprivation and disordered gambling (via delay discounting; i.e., preferences for immediate smaller rewards relative to delayed larger rewards) is moderated by the extent to which gamblers have a financially focused self-concept. Specifically, we hypothesized that delay discounting would be a strong predictor of disordered gambling among those who base their self-worth on their financial success. To test this moderated-mediation model, a community sample of gamblers (N = 239) completed measures that assessed relative deprivation, delay discounting, financially focused self-concept, and disordered gambling severity. As predicted, people who felt more relative deprivation reported more severe symptoms of disordered gambling and this association was mediated by delay discounting. Importantly, this mediated relationship was moderated by the extent to which participants’ self-concept was focused on financial success. Among participants whose self-concept was high in financial focus, greater delay discounting (stemming from relative deprivation) was a strong predictor of disordered gambling. Among people whose self-concept was low in financial focus, delay discounting (stemming from relative deprivation) was a weak predictor of disordered gambling. Thus, the magnitude of the indirect effect of relative deprivation on disordered gambling severity was larger among people with a more financially focused self-concept—an effect mediated by delay discounting. These findings suggest that targeting gamblers’ financial focus in prevention and treatment interventions may be instrumental in curtailing the development and maintenance of disordered gambling.
Leanne M. Casey, Tian P. S. Oei, Namrata Raylu, Katherine Horrigan, Jamin Day, Michael Ireland, Bonnie A. Clough.
The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of an Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy program (I-CBT) for the treatment of problem gambling, when compared to a waitlist control and an active comparison condition consisting of monitoring, feedback, and support (I-MFS). Participants (N = 174) were randomly allocated to the three conditions. Variables of interest were gambling outcome and related mental health measures. Participants in the active conditions (I-CBT and I-MFS) completed six online modules. Both I-CBT and I-MFS conditions resulted in significant treatment gains on gambling severity. However, I-CBT was also associated with reductions in a range of other gambling-related and mental health outcomes. Compared with I-MFS, I-CBT produced greater effects across seven outcomes measures, relating to gambling urges, cognitions, stress, and life satisfaction. I-CBT participants also rated the program as significantly more satisfactory. Treatment gains observed for both active conditions were found to be stable through to 12 month follow up. The results indicate that the benefits of I-CBT were more than simply the non-specific effects of engaging in online treatment or receiving motivation, feedback, and support. Online treatments for gambling may be a valuable tool in increasing help-seeking and treatment engagement in this population, and be integrated as part of stepped care approaches to treatment.
Casey, L. M., Oei, T. P. S., Raylu, N., Horrigan, K., Day, J., Ireland, M., & Clough, B. A. (2017). Internet-Based Delivery of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Compared to Monitoring, Feedback and Support for Problem Gambling: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-016-9666-y