Low trait self-control in problem gamblers: Evidence from self-report and behavioral measures

Abstract

Problems with self-control are seen as a key cause of problem gambling behavior. Yet, self-control is rarely studied directly in gambling studies. We demonstrated that self-report and behavioral measures (derived from the strength model of self-control) show lower trait self-control in problem gamblers. In Study 1, a sample of 2,208 undergraduate students from the University of Guelph, Canada (73% female, mean age = 19 years, SD = 4) completed a self-report measure of self-control strength. In Study 2, a sample of 296 University of Guelph students and staff (58% female, mean age = 19 years, SD = 2) completed multiple behavioral measures of self-control strength. Both studies demonstrated that, compared to lower-risk gamblers, higher-risk gamblers have relative trait self-control deficits.

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