An Investigation of the Association Between Shame and Problem Gambling: The Mediating Role of Maladaptive Coping Motives

Hera E. Schlagintweit, Kara Thompson, Abby L. Goldstein, Sherry H. Stewart.

Despite often being considered equivalent affective states, shame and guilt have differential associations with problem gambling with only shame showing a strong positive association with problem gambling. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the shame-problem gambling association. Further, shame and guilt are associated with distinct coping strategies, with shame motivating maladaptive coping (e.g., avoidance, escape) and guilt motivating adaptive coping (e.g., taking corrective action). This study aimed to examine whether maladaptive coping motives for gambling mediate the relationship between shame, but not guilt, and gambling problems. Participants were 196 (126 male) regular gamblers who completed a same and guilt scale, the Problem Gambling Severity Index, and a modified Gambling Motives Questionnaire, which assessed individual motives to engage in gambling for coping, enhancement, or social reasons. Results indicated that coping motives for gambling fully mediated the relationship between shame and problem gambling severity, but did not mediate the association between guilt and problem gambling severity. Experiencing shame contributes to problem gambling as a result of gambling to cope with negative affect. Cultivating more adaptive strategies to cope with shame may be effective in preventing and treating problem gambling.

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Gender Differences in Self-Conscious Emotions and Motivation to Quit Gambling

Considerable gender differences have been previously noted in the prevalence, etiology, and clinical features of problem gambling. While differences in affective states between men and women in particular, may explain differential experiences in the process of gambling, the role of affect in motivations for quitting gambling and recovery has not been thoroughly explored. The aim of this study was to examine gender differences within a sample of problem gamblers motivated to quit with or without formal treatment, and further, to explore the interactions between gender, shame and guilt-proneness, and autonomous versus controlled reasons for change. Motivation for change and self-conscious emotional traits were analyzed for 207 adult problem gamblers with an interest in quitting or reducing their gambling (96.6 % not receiving treatment)…

Source: Kushnir, V., Godinho, A., Hodgins, D. C., Hendershot, C. S., & Cunningham, J. A. (2015). Gender Differences in Self-Conscious Emotions and Motivation to Quit Gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–15. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-015-9574-6