Assessing post-cue exposure craving and its association with amount wagered in an optional betting task

Abstract

Background and aims: The current study was designed to assess the impact of wins and losses in simulated blackjack on craving to gamble and to assess the extent to which this craving was associated with actual wagering in an optional gambling task. Methods: Participants were undergraduates attending a large Midwestern university in the United States. They completed the Gambling Urge Scale (GUS) and then were randomized to either a condition in which they would win 15 hands of blackjack (Win condition; n = 41) or lose 15 hands (Lose condition; n = 37) out of a total of 20 hands. After playing blackjack and completing several additional questionnaires, participants had the chance to wager their $5 compensation for the opportunity to win $50. Results: GUS scores increased significantly following blackjack, regardless of condition. We also found that post-blackjack craving was significantly associated with the amount participants wagered in the optional betting task, such that greater craving was associated with higher amount wagered. Conclusions: These findings provide further support for the construct validity of the GUS, provide novel findings regarding the effects of wins and losses when gambling, and provide evidence of an association between craving and a behavioral betting task. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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