Gambling on smartphones: A study of a potentially addictive behaviour in a naturalistic setting [open-access article]

Abstract: Smartphone users engage extensively with their devices, on an intermittent basis for short periods of time. These patterns of behaviour have the potential to make mobile gambling especially perseverative. This paper reports the first empirical study of mobile gambling in which a simulated gambling app was used to measure gambling behaviour in phases of acquisition and extinction. We found that participants showed considerable perseverance in the face of continued losses that were linearly related to their prior engagement with the app. Latencies between gambles were associated with the magnitude of reinforcement; more positive outcomes were associated with longer breaks between play and a greater propensity to end a gambling session. Greater latencies were associated with measurements of problem gambling, and perseverance with gambling-related cognitions and sensation-seeking behaviour.
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Reference: James R.J.E., O’Malley, C., & Tunney R.J. (2019). Gambling on smartphones: A study of a potentially addictive behaviour in a naturalistic setting. European Addiction Research, 25,30-40. doi: 10.1159/000495663

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Gambling on Smartphones: A study of a potentially addictive behaviour in a naturalistic setting [open access article]

Abstract: Smartphone users engage extensively with their devices, on an intermittent basis for short periods of time. These patterns of behaviour have the potential to make mobile gambling especially perseverative. This paper reports the first empirical study of mobile gambling in which a simulated gambling app was used to measure gambling behaviour in phases of acquisition and extinction. We found that participants showed considerable perseverance in the face of continued losses that were linearly related to their prior engagement with the app. Latencies between gambles were associated with the magnitude of reinforcement; more positive outcomes were associated with longer breaks between play and a greater propensity to end a gambling session. Greater latencies were associated with measurements of problem gambling, and perseverance with gambling-related cognitions and sensation-seeking behaviour. Access full article

Citation: James, R.J.E., O’Malley C., & Tunney R.J. (2019). European Addiction Research, 25, 30–40. DOI: 10.1159/000495663

Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task [open access article]

Background and aims: Online social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook provide users with myriad social rewards. These social rewards bring users back to SNSs repeatedly, with some users displaying maladaptive, excessive SNS use. Symptoms of this excessive SNS use are similar to symptoms of substance use and behavioral addictive disorders. Importantly, individuals with substance use and behavioral addictive disorders have difficulty making value-based decisions, as demonstrated with paradigms like the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT); however, it is currently unknown if excessive SNS users display the same decision-making deficits. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between excessive SNS use and IGT performance.

Methods: We administered the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) to 71 participants to assess their maladaptive use of the Facebook SNS. We next had them perform 100 trials of the IGT to assess their value-based decision making. Results: We found a negative correlation between BFAS score and performance in the IGT across participants, specifically over the last block of 20 trials. There were no correlations between BFAS score and IGT performance in earlier blocks of trials.

Discussion: Our results demonstrate that more severe, excessive SNS use is associated with more deficient value based decision making. In particular, our results indicate that excessive SNS users may make more risky decisions during the IGT task. Conclusion: This result further supports a parallel between individuals with problematic, excessive SNS use, and individuals with substance use and behavioral addictive disorders. Access full article

Citation: Meshi, D., Elizarova, A., Bender, A., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2018). Journal of Behavioral Addictions. DOI: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.138

Hardwired for risk: The clinical utility of exploring evolutionary aspects of gambling [open access article]

Introduction: Evolutionary perspectives increasingly inform the research on addiction. As this knowledge base advances, an increasing corresponding need to translate these understandings into a manner that promotes clinical innovation has consequently emerged. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of emerging perspectives on evolutionary and neurobiological aspects of gambling and to consider how such perspectives can inform and enhance clinical practice. Access full article

By John Paulson, Department of Social Work, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, USA. Journal of Gambling Issues, 2018.

Online Gambling among Treatment-Seeking Patients in Singapore: A Cross-Sectional Study [Full-text]

Melvyn Zhang, Yi Yang, Song Guo, Chris Cheok, Kim Eng Wong and
Gomathinayagam Kandasami – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health — Open Access Journal

Abstract: Given that technology has greatly facilitated easier access to gambling in previous years, it is timely to look in-depth into online gambling activities and behaviors. There have been several studies that examined online gambling. However, most of the current studies to date have focused on determining the prevalence and the epidemiology of problem gambling arising from online gambling in Western cohorts. There remains a paucity of research looking at the problem of online gambling among Asian individuals. The objectives of the current study are to elucidate the characteristics of online gambling among an Asian cohort and to explore the harm associated with online gambling and the potential mechanisms by which harm associated with online gambling could be minimized.

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Gamble Much? How to Figure out if You’ve Got a Problem: Get inside the mind of the compulsive gambler [Full text]

Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.. 

Psychology Today

Abstract: Almost everyone has gambled at some point in life, but as many as 3.5% may have a form of gambling disorder. Psychology’s understanding of gambling disorder continues to evolve. Up until recently, people who we might call compulsive gamblers were regarded as having a disorder of “impulse control.” Psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, the DSM-IV-TR (link is external), placed compulsive gambling, called “pathological gambling,” in the section of disorders that also included kleptomania, pyromania, and trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling). In their revamping of all psychological disorders, in light of new conceptualizations, DSM-5 places “gambling disorder” in a new category of “Non-Substance-Related-Disorders.” Rather than being more similar to people with compulsive behaviors, then, people with gambling disorder now are viewed as more similar to people who have a substance disorder.

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A Functional Analytic Approach to Understanding Disordered Gambling [Subscription access only]

Mark R. Dixon, Alyssa N. Wilson, Jordan Belisle, James B. Schreiber. 

The Psychological Record

Abstract: The Gambling Functional Assessment (GFA) hypothesized four possible maintaining functions of gambling behavior, including social attention, escape from aversive events, access to tangible items, and sensory stimulation. In the years following the GFA’s release, research teams have argued for a revised model of the GFA to account for just two possible functions maintaining gambling behavior (positive and negative reinforcement). In the current study, we examined the extent to which a four-factor gambling functional assessment was possible, sustaining a conceptual and theoretical orientation consistent with a functional behavioral account of gambling. Three hundred and sixty-five recreational and disordered gamblers completed a demographic survey, the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), and the GFA. An exploratory factor analysis was first conducted to determine GFA functional items that loaded onto a common factor, and a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to determine if a four-factor model, consistent with the functional categories of the GFA, provided a good fit for the obtained data. Outcomes supported the model, suggesting that a four-factor functional account of gambling behavior can be obtained. Differing results obtained by separate research teams, however, suggest that more precise research may be needed in the development and analysis of functional instruments for use with gamblers.

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Cite this article as: Dixon, M.R., Wilson, A.N., Belisle, J. et al. Psychol Rec (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-018-0279-y