The relation between personal relative deprivation and the urge to gamble among gamblers is moderated by problem gambling severity: A meta-analysis


One psychosocial factor that has been identified to motivate gambling is personal relative deprivation (PRD), which refers to resentment stemming from the belief that one is deprived of a desired and deserved outcome compared to some referent. Although several lines of evidence point to a positive association between PRD and the urge to gamble, the factors that might moderate this relation have yet to be investigated. Through a quantitative research synthesis, we sought to test (a) the overall relation between PRD and gambling urges among people reporting recent gambling experience, and (b) whether this relation is moderated by problem gambling severity. Meta-analysis revealed that, overall, higher self-reported PRD was associated with stronger urges to gamble (r = .26). A meta-regression revealed that, across studies, the strength of this relation depended on problem gambling severity, such that the relation between PRD and gambling urges was stronger among samples higher in average problem gambling severity. This pattern was corroborated by an analysis of the aggregated individual participant data (N = 857), such that PRD predicted gambling urges only among participants higher in problem gambling severity. The potential practical implications and limitations of these results are discussed.

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