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