Cue-reactive altered state of consciousness mediates the relationship between the problem-gambling severity and cue-reactive urge in poker machine gamblers

Abstract

In order to enhance our understanding of the nature of poker-machine problem-gambling, a community sample of 37 poker-machine gamblers (M age = 32 years, M PGSI = 5; PGSI = Problem Gambling Severity Index) were assessed for urge to gamble (responses on a visual analogue scale) and altered state of consciousness (assessed by the Altered State of Awareness dimension of the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory) at baseline, after a neutral cue, and after a gambling cue. It was found that (a) problem-gambling severity (PGSI score) predicted increase in urge (from neutral cue to gambling cue, controlling for baseline; sr 2 = .19, p = .006) and increase in altered state of consciousness (from neutral cue to gambling cue, controlling for baseline; sr 2 = .57, p < .001), and (b) increase in altered state of consciousness (from neutral cue to gambling cue) mediated the relationship between problem-gambling severity and increase in urge (from neutral cue to gambling cue; κ2 = .40, 99 % CI [.08, .71]). These findings suggest that cue-reactive altered state of consciousness is an important component of cue-reactive urge in poker-machine problem-gamblers.

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