Cue-reactive imagery mediates the relationships of reward responsiveness with both cue-reactive urge to gamble and positive affect in poker-machine gamblers [subscription-access article].

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that gambling cues (e.g., flashing lights on poker-machines) can trigger an urge to gamble in poker-machine gamblers. However, the psychological mechanisms that promote the urge to gamble remain poorly understood. The present study explored whether reward responsiveness predicted urge to gamble and positive affect, and whether cue-reactive rationality, volitional control and imagery mediated these relationships. Ninety-three (45% male and 55% female) Australian regular poker-machine gamblers aged between 18 and 77 participated in an online cue-reactivity experiment. Participants initially completed the Problem Gambling Severity Index and Reward Responsiveness scale. Subsequently, at three time points (i.e., baseline, directly after a neutral cue and directly after a gambling cue) participants completed the rationality, volitional control and imagery subscales of the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory and two visual analogue scales that measured urge to gamble and positive affect. Analyses indicated that gambling cues triggered statistically significant increases in both urge to gamble and positive affect and these variables were statistically significantly positively correlated with reward responsiveness. Furthermore, only cue-reactive imagery mediated the relationships between reward responsiveness and the two outcome variables (i.e., cue-reactive urge to gamble and positive affect). These findings highlight the potential importance of targeting reward responsiveness and cue-reactive mental imagery in the context of exposure therapies for poker-machine problem gamblers. Article details and access conditions

Reference: Dale, G., Rock, A.J. & Clark, G.I. (2019). Cue-reactive imagery mediates the relationships of reward responsiveness with both cue-reactive urge to gamble and positive affect in poker-machine gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09864-x

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Exploring gambling craving through the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of desire: A mixed methods approach (full text)

By Cornil, A., Lopez-Fernandez, O., Devos, G., Timary, P., Goudriaan, A., & Billieux, J.

Abstract: Gambling disorder is a well-established behavioural addiction, which was classified with substance-related disorders in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Although craving was introduced as a new diagnostic criterion for substance-related disorders, it was not included for gambling disorder. This study aimed to explore the experience of gambling craving and to evaluate whether the elaborated intrusion theory of desire (EIT), a cognitive model of craving, fits gambling craving. A mixed methods study was conducted among 31 non-clinical gamblers. The qualitative part consisted of open-ended questions targeting the components of the EIT. The quantitative part consisted of a questionnaire designed to assess triggers and descriptions of gambling craving. Qualitative analysis revealed six distinct conceptual categories related to gambling craving: positive and negative affect, external cues, mental imageries, thoughts and physiological sensations. The quantitative analysis highlighted the most relevant triggers (e.g., spontaneous thoughts) and experiential characteristics (e.g., visual imagery) of gambling craving. The present study allowed us to support the relevance of the EIT as it applies to gambling craving by disentangling its core features. Findings from this study suggest that the use of interventions derived from the EIT may be relevant for problem gambling treatment.

Cornil, A., Lopez-Fernandez, O., Devos, G., Timary, P., Goudriaan, A., & Billieux, J. (2017). Exploring gambling craving through the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of desire: A mixed methods approach. International Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2017.1368686

 

Trait Mindfulness, Problem-Gambling Severity, Altered State of Awareness and Urge to Gamble in Poker-Machine Gamblers

McKeith, C. F. A., Rock, A. J., & Clark, G. I.

In Australia, poker-machine gamblers represent a disproportionate number of problem gamblers. To cultivate a greater understanding of the psychological mechanisms involved in poker-machine gambling, a repeated measures cue-reactivity protocol was administered. A community sample of 38 poker-machine gamblers was assessed for problem-gambling severity and trait mindfulness. Participants were also assessed regarding altered state of awareness (ASA) and urge to gamble at baseline, following a neutral cue, and following a gambling cue. Results indicated that: (a) urge to gamble significantly increased from neutral cue to gambling cue, while controlling for baseline urge; (b) cue-reactive ASA did not significantly mediate the relationship between problem-gambling severity and cue-reactive urge (from neutral cue to gambling cue); (c) trait mindfulness was significantly negatively associated with both problem-gambling severity and cue-reactive urge (i.e., from neutral cue to gambling cue, while controlling for baseline urge); and (d) trait mindfulness did not significantly moderate the effect of problem-gambling severity on cue-reactive urge (from neutral cue to gambling cue). This is the first study to demonstrate a negative association between trait mindfulness and cue-reactive urge to gamble in a population of poker-machine gamblers. Thus, this association merits further evaluation both in relation to poker-machine gambling and other gambling modalities.