By Wong, D. F. K., Zhuang, X. Y., Jackson, A., Dowling, N., & Lo, H. H. M.
Abstract: Gambling-related cognitions and negative psychological states have been proposed as major factors in the initiation and maintenance of problem gambling (PG). While there are a substantial number of studies supporting the role of cognitive dysfunctions in the initiation and maintenance of PG, very few empirical studies have explored the specific role of negative psychological states in influencing PG behaviours. In addition, very few studies have examined the interaction effects of cognitive dysfunctions and negative psychological states in exerting influence on PG behaviours. Therefore, the present study aims to examine the main and interaction effects of gambling-related cognitions and psychological states on the gambling severity among a group of problem gamblers in Hong Kong. A cross-sectional research design was adopted. A purposive sample of 177 problem gamblers who sought treatment from a social service organization in Hong Kong completed a battery of standardised questionnaires. While gambling-related cognitions were found to exert significant effects on gambling severity, negative psychological states (i.e. stress) significantly moderated the relationship between gambling cognitions and gambling severity. In essence, those participants who reported a higher level of stress had more stable and serious gambling problems than those who reported a lower level of stress irrespective of the level of gambling-related cognitions. The findings of the moderating role of negative emotions in the relationship between cognitive distortions and severity of gambling provide insight towards developing an integrated intervention model which includes both cognitive-behavioural and emotion regulation strategies in helping people with PG.
Wong, D. F. K., Zhuang, X. Y., Jackson, A., Dowling, N., & Lo, H. H. M. (2017). Negative Mood States or Dysfunctional Cognitions: Their Independent and Interactional Effects in Influencing Severity of Gambling Among Chinese Problem Gamblers in Hong Kong. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9714-2
By Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M.
Abstract: Gambling-related harm results primarily from financial losses. Internationally Australia continues to rank as the largest spending nation per capita on gambling products. This would suggest that Australian gamblers are at disproportionately high risk of harm despite almost two decades of industry scrutiny and regulation, and investment in research, treatment and education programs. However, declines in participation rates, per capita expenditure, household expenditure, national disposable income spent on gambling and problem gambling rates have been cited as evidence that fewer people are gambling, that gamblers are spending less, and that gambling safety in Australia has improved. The current study investigated these propositions using national population and accounts data, and statistics from Australia’s two population-representative gambling surveys conducted in 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Despite a falling participation rate the study found no real change in the number of people gambling overall, and increasing numbers consuming casino table games, race wagering and sports betting. Further found were increases rather than decreases in average gambler expenditure, overall, and across most products, particularly electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Potentially risky levels of average expenditure were observed in both periods, overall and for race wagering, casino table gaming, and EGMs. Changes in the proportion of income spent on gambling suggest risks declined overall and for race wagering and casino table gaming, but increased for EGMs. Finally, while problem gambling statistics were not comparable between periods, the study found double the number of moderate risk gamblers previously estimated for 2010–2011 amongst the 2 million Australians found to have experienced one or more gambling-related problems. The findings have implications for public health policy and resourcing, and the way in which prevalence and expenditure statistics have been interpreted by researchers, government and industry in Australia and elsewhere.
Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M. (2017). Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9708-0
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.