Shame-prone gamblers and their coping with gambling loss

Abstract

Applying recent research on self-conscious emotions (e.g., Tangney & Dearing, 2002) to the literature of gambling, the proposal that painful self-conscious emotions brought about by chronic awareness of personal inferiority and inadequacy, deemed as a major predisposing factor for problem gambling (Jacobs, 1986), appears to be compatible with the chronic affective trait of shame proneness but incompatible with guilt-proneness. This premise led to the hypothesis that shame-proneness is strongly associated with problem-gambling severity, whereas guilt-proneness is minimally associated with problem gambling. Further, it was hypothesized that shame-prone gamblers frequently use avoidant coping strategies following gambling loss and chase losses, whereas this tendency is minimal among guilt-prone gamblers. These hypotheses were supported by the data from a retrospective survey of recent gambling loss occasions (N5284). The findings indicate that shame-proneness is one of the predisposing risk factors for problem gambling, whereas guilt-proneness may mitigate gambling problems.

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