The role of affect-driven impulsivity in gambling cognitions: A convenience-sample study with a Spanish version of the Gambling-Related Cognitions Scale

Abstract

Background and aims:
Abnormal cognitions are among the most salient domain-specific features of gambling disorder. The aims of this study were: (a) to examine and validate a Spanish version of the Gambling-Related Cognitions Scale (GRCS; Raylu & Oei, 2004) and (b) to examine associations between cognitive distortion levels, impulsivity, and gambling behavior.

Methods:
This study first recruited a convenience sample of 500 adults who had gambled during the previous year. Participants were assessed using the Spanish version of GRCS (GRCS-S) questionnaire, the UPPS-P impulsivity questionnaire, measures of gambling behavior, and potentially relevant confounders. Robust confirmatory factor analysis methods on half the sample were used to select the best models from a hypothesis-driven set. The best solutions were validated on the other half, and the resulting factors were later correlated with impulsivity dimensions (in the whole n = 500 factor analysis sample) and clinically relevant gambling indices (in a separate convenience sample of 137 disordered and non-disordered gamblers; validity sample).

Results:
This study supports the original five-factor model, suggests an alternative four-factor solution, and confirms the psychometric soundness of the GRCS-S. Importantly, cognitive distortions consistently correlated with affect- or motivation-driven aspects of impulsivity (urgency and sensation seeking), but not with cognitive impulsivity (lack of premeditation and lack of perseverance).

Discussion and conclusions:
Our findings suggest that the GRCS-S is a valid and reliable instrument to identify gambling cognitions in Spanish samples. Our results expand upon previous research signaling specific associations between gambling-related distortions and affect-driven impulsivity in line with models of motivated reasoning.

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