Problem gambling: the mediating role of impulsivity and cognitive bias

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Graves, Chad
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Previous research has suggested that endorsement of erroneous gambling beliefs is positively associated with gambling intensity and severity (Xian et al., 2008). Likewise, higher levels of impulsivity have also been associated with increasingly severe problem gambling (Steel & Blaszczynski, 1998). This study examined whether impulsivity and cognitive bias were associated with pathological gambling, and if so, which best explained the relationship between gambling risk status and gambling behaviors. A sample of 80 undergraduate students from the University of Manitoba completed a number of measures assessing impulsivity, cognitive bias, gambling behavior, and gambling play. Results showed that probable pathological gamblers (N=40) scored higher in impulsivity (F (5, 74), p < .005) and cognitive bias (F (4, 75) = 11.94, p < .001) than non-pathological gamblers (N=40). A series of mediation models suggested that the effects of gambling group on some EGM play variables are mediated by cognitive bias, but not impulsivity. Moderated mediation models found that impulsivity moderates the mediating effect of cognitive bias on the relationship between gambling group and EGM play. These results support the treatment of erroneous gambling cognitions with pathological gamblers while it also gives support to the recent reclassification of Pathological Gambling as an "addiction and related disorder" in the DSM-V.
Gambling, Psychology