Racial-ethnic differences in impulsivity and compulsivity in recreational gambling

Background: Prior data indicate high rates of problematic gambling in some racial-ethnic minority groups, yet research into mechanisms contributing to these associations is scant. The aim of the present study was to examine whether impulsivity and compulsivity differ across racial-ethnic groups in recreational gamblers.

Methods: Young adult non-treatment seeking recreational gamblers were recruited from the general community. Presence of mental health diagnoses (including gambling disorder) was exclusionary. Participants completed clinical interviews, questionnaires, and cognitive tasks germane to impulsivity and compulsivity.

Results: 202 recreational gamblers (63.5% males) had mean (standard deviation) age 23.8 (2.7) years and identified using the following racial-ethnic identities: Caucasian (N = 145), African-American (N = 41), and Asian (N = 16). Groups did not differ on age, gender, education, or impulsivity measures. Compared to the Caucasian group, the African-American group reported significantly higher endorsement of sub-syndromal disordered gambling, higher compulsivity scores, and exhibited decision-making decrements on the Gambling Task. The Asian and Caucasian groups did not differ on any measure.

Conclusions: This study suggests that young adult African-American recreational gamblers may experience greater levels of subsyndromal gambling compared to other racial-ethnic groups, and this appears linked with aspects of compulsivity. Future work should evaluate gambling longitudinally to better understand nuanced presentations across different groups, including in other age groups.  Link to the article

Citation: Chamberlain, S.R., & Grant, J.E. (2020). Racial-ethnic differences in impulsivity and compulsivity in recreational gambling. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 97(152153). Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X19300768

The joint role of impulsivity and distorted cognitions in recreational and problem gambling: A cluster analytic approach [open-access article]

Background and aims: The Pathways Model (Blaszczynski & Nower, 2002) posits that problem gambling is a heterogeneous disorder with distinct subgroups (behaviorally conditioned gamblers, emotionally vulnerable gamblers, and antisocial-impulsivist gamblers). Impulsivity traits and gambling-related cognitions are re-cognized as two key psychological factors in the onset and maintenance of problem gambling. To date, these constructs have been explored separately, and their joint role in determining problem gambling subtypes has received little attention. The goal of our study was to identify subgroups of gamblers based on impulsivity traits and gambling-related cognitions, and to determine whether this approach is consistent with the Pathways model.

Methods: Gamblers from the community (N= 709) and treatment-seeking pathological gamblers (N= 122)completed questionnaires measuring gambling habits, disordered gambling symptoms, gambling-related cog-nitions, and impulsivity traits.

Results: Cluster analyses revealed that three clusters globally aligned with the pathways proposed by Blaszczynski & Nower (2002). Two other clusters emerged: (1) impulsive gamblers without cognitive-related cognitions; and (2) gamblers without impulsivity or gambling-related cognitions. Gamblers with both heightened impulsive traits and gambling-related cognitions had more severe problem gambling symptoms.

Conclusion: We successfully identified, based on ana prioritheoretical framework, different subtypes of gamblersthat varied in terms of problem gambling symptoms and clinical status. The diversity of the cluster profilessupports the development of personalized prevention strategies and psychological interventions.
Link to the article

Citation: Gaëtan Devos, Luke Clark, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Marie Grall-Bronnec, Gaëlle Challet-Bouju, Yasser Khazaal, Pierre Maurage, Joël Billieux. (2020). The joint role of impulsivity and distorted cognitions in recreational and problem gambling: A cluster analytic approach. Journal of Affective Disorders, 260, 473-482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.096.

Heterogeneity in disordered gambling: Decision-making and impulsivity in gamblers grouped by preferred form [open-access article].

Background: Previous research has indicated that disordered gamblers display deficits in impulsivity and risky decision-making, compared to healthy control groups. However, disordered gamblers are not a homogenous group, and differences in performance on neurocognitive tasks may be related to the form of gambling in which an individual chooses to engage. The present study used neurocognitive tasks and questionnaire measures to ascertain group differences in gamblers grouped by preferred form of gambling.

Method: Treatment-seeking pathological gamblers from the National Problem Gambling Clinic, London (n = 101), completed a neurocognitive assessment comprising the Cambridge gamble task (CGT), the stop-signal task (SST), a probabilistic reversal learning task (PRL), and the Kirby Monetary Choice Questionnaire, as well as questionnaire measures of gambling severity, impulsivity, depression, and anxiety. Analyses compared gamblers who favored fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) (the modal form) to gamblers who preferred other forms of gambling (non-FOBT).

Results: The FOBT group showed impaired decision-making under risk on the CGT compared to the non-FOBT group, choosing the likely option less on more uncertain decisions. The FOBT group made fewer perseverative errors on the PRL task, had lower depression and anxiety scores, and were less likely to have a family history of problem gambling than the non-FOBT group.

Discussion: Decision-making and cognitive flexibility differences between gamblers grouped by gambling type supports preferred form as an important source of heterogeneity in gambling disorder. Decision-making strategies and risk attitudes should be considered when approaching cognition-focused treatment strategies, allowing interventions to be targeted at specific cognitive deficits. Link to the article

Citation: Sharman, S., Clark, L., Roberts, A., Michalczuk, R., Cocks, R., & Bowden-Jones, H. (2019). Heterogeneity in disordered gambling: Decision-making and impulsivity in gamblers grouped by preferred form. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10(588). DOI: doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00588

Impulsivity and problem gambling: can the anticipated emotional rewards explain the relationship? (subscription access article)

Flack, M. & Buckby, B. (2018). International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-9950-4

Gambling behaviors tend to increase in prevalence from late adolescence to young adulthood, and the underlying genetic and environmental influences during this period remain largely understudied. We examined the genetic and environmental influences on gambling behaviors contributing to stability and change from ages 18 to 25 in a longitudinal, behavioral genetic mixed-sex twin study design. Participants were enrolled in the Minnesota Twin Family Study. A range of gambling behaviors (maximum frequency, average frequency, money lost, and gambling problems) were assessed at ages 18 and 25. The results of our study support the following conclusions: (a) the genetic and environmental factors impacting a range of gambling behaviors are largely similar in men and women, (b) genetic factors increase in influence from 18 to 25 (21% at age 18 to 57% at age 25), (c) shared environmental factors are influential at age 18, but tend to decrease from ages 18 to 25 (55% at age 18 to 10% at age 25), and (d) nonshared environmental influences are similarly significant and are small to moderate in magnitude at both ages. The findings add to a small yet important research area regarding determinants of youth gambling behaviors and have the potential to inform prevention and intervention efforts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved). Article details and references

Food Addiction in Gambling Disorder: Frequency and Clinical Outcomes

By Susana Jiménez-Murcia, Roser Granero, Ines Wolz, Marta Baño, Gemma Mestre-Bach, Trevor Steward, Zaida Agüera, Anke Hinney, Carlos Diéguez, Felipe F. Casanueva, Ashley N. Gearhardt, Anders Hakansson, José M. Menchón, and Fernando Fernández-Aranda.

Background: The food addiction (FA) model is receiving increasing interest from the scientific community. Available empirical evidence suggests that this condition may play an important role in the development and course of physical and mental health conditions such as obesity, eating disorders, and other addictive behaviors. However, no epidemiological data exist on the comorbidity of FA and gambling disorder (GD), or on the phenotype for the co-occurrence of GD+FA.

Objectives: To determine the frequency of the comorbid condition GD+FA, to assess whether this comorbidity features a unique clinical profile compared to GD without FA, and to generate predictive models for the presence of FA in a GD sample.

Method: Data correspond to N = 458 treatment-seeking patients who met criteria for GD in a hospital unit specialized in behavioral addictions.

Results: Point prevalence for FA diagnosis was 9.2%. A higher ratio of FA was found in women (30.5%) compared to men (6.0%). Lower FA prevalence was associated with older age. Patients with high FA scores were characterized by worse psychological state, and the risk of a FA diagnosis was increased in patients with high scores in the personality traits harm avoidance and self-transcendence, and low scores in cooperativeness (R2 = 0.18).

Conclusion: The co-occurrence of FA in treatment-seeking GD patients is related to poorer emotional and psychological states. GD treatment interventions and related behavioral addictions should consider potential associations with problematic eating behavior and aim to include techniques that aid patients in better managing this behavior.

Why are Some Games More Addictive than Others: The Effects of Timing and Payoff on Perseverance in a Slot Machine Game – Open Access

Manipulating different behavioral characteristics of gambling games can potentially affect the extent to which individuals persevere at gambling, and their transition to problematic behaviors. This has potential impact for mobile gambling technologies and responsible gambling interventions. Two laboratory models pertinent to this are the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE) and the trial spacing effect. Both of these might speed up or delay the acquisition and extinction of conditioned behavior. We report an experiment that manipulated the rate of reinforcement and inter trial interval (ITI) on a simulated slot machine where participants were given the choice between gambling and skipping on each trial, before perseverative gambling was measured in extinction, followed by measurements of the illusion of control, depression and impulsivity. We hypothesized that longer ITI’s in conjunction with the low rates of reinforcement observed in gambling would lead to greater perseverance. We further hypothesized, given that timing is known to be important in displaying illusory control and potentially in persevering in gambling, that prior exposure to longer intervals might affect illusions of control.

Source: James, R. J. E., O’Malley, C., & Tunney, R. J. (2016). Why are Some Games More Addictive than Others: The Effects of Timing and Payoff on Perseverance in a Slot Machine Game. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00046

Problem Gambling and Sub-dimensions of Impulsivity among Regular Online Poker Players | Open Access

Introduction: Impulsivity is a personality dimension known to be closely linked to addictive behaviour, including problem gambling. The aim of the present study is to assess impulsivity and its sub-dimensions (non-planning, attentional and motor impulsivity) among a sample of regular poker players, in order to determine whether these subtypes are linked to problem gambling and its severity…

Source: S, B., & C, B. (2015). Problem Gambling and Sub-dimensions of Impulsivity among Regular Online Poker Players. Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, 06(04). http://doi.org/10.4172/2155-6105.1000254