Reconsidering the roots, structure, and implications of gambling motives: An integrative approach (open access preprint)

Barrada, J., Navas, J. F., de Lara, C. M. R., Billieux, J., Devos, G., & Perales, J. (2018, October 14).

Abstract: Accurately identifying motives is crucial in the functional analysis of gambling behavior. In this study, a data-driven approach was followed to clarify the factor structure underlying a pool of motives for gambling, selected from the Gambling Motives Questionnaire – Financial (GMQ-F), and the Reasons for Gambling Questionnaire (RGQ), in a sample of regular problem and non-problem gamblers. Additionally, the role of gambling motives in the relationship between root behavioral activation/inhibition systems (BIS/BAS) and gambling severity, frequency, and preferences was explored using structural equation modelling (SEM).
Results show that motives variance was best explained by the existence of four factors: financial motives, social motives, affect regulation, and fun/thrill. Importantly, gambling to regulate affect was directly and independently associated with gambling severity. Only the fun/thrill factor was directly related to frequency of participation in high-arousal, skill-based games, whereas all factors were related to participation in lower-arousal, chance games (with social motives negatively predicting both participation in the latter and total severity). Finally, in the SEM model, measures of BIS/BAS sensitivity were connected to gambling behavior only through gambling motives.
In summary, in contrast with previous, theory-driven factorizations, there seems to be no clear-cut separation between positive and negative reinforcement-driven motives, and an affect regulation factor emerged as the only one directly associated with the risk of gambling disorder. In accordance with this dual composition, the affect regulation motives factor appears to be fueled by both BIS and BAS. Based on mesures of items’ specificity, a shortened Spanish scale (the brief Gambling Motives Inventory, bGMI) is proposed to assess gambling motives in accordance with the observed 4-factor structure Access article preprint


Measuring gambling-related harms: a framework for action / Gambling Commission, Birmingham, UK. [open access report]

Wardle, Heather and Reith, Gerda and Best, David and McDaid, David and Platt, Stephen.(2018). Measuring gambling-related harms: a framework for action. Gambling Commission, Birmingham, UK.

Foreword: The Gambling Commission exists to safeguard consumers and the wider public by making gambling fairer and safer. To do this we need to balance consumer choice and enjoyment against the risks gambling can create and its impact on wider society. Working with partners to gain a better understanding of gambling-related harms is one of the priorities we set in our three-year strategy, making gambling fairer and safer. This document is a key step towards a better understanding of gambling-related harms.
Gambling-related harms include impacts on relationships, finances and health. They are experienced by individuals, families, communities, the economy and society as whole. This report provides a useful framework to consider how these harms can be measured and understood better. But the authors do not intend it to be definitive. It is a platform for further input and for taking the next steps on a set of priority topics where work can be focused on gathering the evidence we require. Full report available from the London School of Economics Research Online

Episodic and Binge Gambling: An Exploration and Preliminary Quantitative Study (open access)

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.

Assessing Problem Gambling: a Review of Classic and Specialized Measures (full text)

By Kyle Caler, Jose Ricardo Vargas Garcia, Lia Nower

Purpose of Review – The rapid expansion of legalized gambling opportunities over the past 20 years has generated interest in problem gambling and gambling disorder. This review will provide an overview of classic and newer instruments in the field.Recent FindingsEarly instruments in the field of gambling studies were focused exclusively on population prevalence or diagnosis of disorder. However, a growing body of research, particularly in the clinical and neurobiological areas, have led to the development of a targeted measurement instruments and increased specialization designed for screening of a gambling disorder. Newer instruments and those that with renewed clinical and research interest are focused on specific areas such as cognitive distortions, and control of urges and cravings, which are key components of sustained recovery.SummaryMeasurement in the field of problem gambling is moving away from solely measuring population prevalence and psychiatric disorder toward targeting the specific mechanisms that underlie problem gambling and barriers to recovery. Future advances in measurement will necessitate using standardized measures to assess various facets of problem gambling and adopting a holistic approach to assessing facets synergistically to identify sub-groups and inform targeted treatment strategies.

Caler, K., Garcia, J. R. V., & Nower, L. (2016). Assessing Problem Gambling: a Review of Classic and Specialized Measures. Current Addiction Reports, 1–8.