The psychological causes of problem gambling: A longitudinal study of at risk recreational EGM players

Abstract

Reports on the outcomes of a study of 360 regular electronic gaming machine players interviewed by phone about their gambling. Indicates that depression was both a predictor of concurrent impaired control over gambling and future impaired control. Social support was not found to be related to impaired control over gambling. A non-productive coping technique was identified for those participants with low levels of control over their gambling and a more productive 'dealing with the problem' approach is a characteristic of those with greater control over their gambling. Describes various strategies deployed by gamblers to maintain control, including avoiding gaming venues and setting strict time and monetary limits. Discusses reactions to 'losing control' including self-blame, anger and utilising club self-exclusion policies or friends and family to try and help them control gambling. Details that impulsivity, depression and non-productive coping styles were the only significant predictors of impaired control. Discusses the implications of the results in terms of responsible gambling policy and treatment for problem gamblers, including for reframing responsible gambling as consumer protection, whilst maintaining the integrity of the gaming experience.

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