Demand for gambling: development and assessment of a gambling purchase task

Abstract

Self-report purchase tasks are a novel approach examining the reinforcing value of addictive behaviour relative to increasing monetary costs required to access the addictive behaviour (i.e. demand). These measures reveal a positive relationship between the indices of demand and addiction problem severity and can elucidate factors associated with motivation for substance use. Gambling is an addictive behaviour that has not been examined using this paradigm. This study seeks to adapt and examine the purchase task for gambling behaviour. A gambling purchase task was devised that asked individuals how often per month they would gamble at various cover charges.

Participants were 73 adults from the community with either gambling disorder (n = 28) or alcohol use disorder (n = 24) or were a healthy control (n = 21). Both the alcohol and gambling purchase tasks were administered.

Results demonstrate discriminant validity of the gambling purchase task, as individuals with gambling disorder have significantly greater demand for accessing gambling than other groups. The alcohol purchase task also evidenced discriminant validity in that individuals with alcohol use disorder have significantly greater demand for alcohol than other groups. These findings support the use of the gambling purchase task to assess the demand for gambling.

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