Sensation seeking in a community sample of French gamblers: Comparison between strategic and non-strategic gamblers

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between sensation seeking and gambling disorder (GD) in a community sample of gamblers (when controlling for the effect of substance use, gender and age) and see whether sensation seeking scores depend on the gambling activity when comparing strategic and non-strategic gamblers. A total of 380 gamblers was recruited. First, pathological gamblers (PGs) (n =143) were compared to non-pathological gamblers (NPGs) (n =237). Second, strategic gamblers (n =93) were compared to non-strategic gamblers (n =110). Sociodemographic data, gambling behavior (SOGS, DSM-IV), tobacco and alcohol use (CAGE), and sensation seeking (SSS) were evaluated. PGs have higher boredom susceptibility scores than NPGs and this factor is associated with GD. Nevertheless, the relationship between sensation seeking and GD depends on the gambling activity. In fact, sensation seeking is associated with GD in strategic gamblers only. PGs playing strategic games display different profiles from non-strategic PGs. Thus, factors associated with GD differ when the gambling activity is taken into account. These findings are consistent with the idea of it being essential to identify clinically distinct subgroups of PGs in the treatment of GD.

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