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Background and Aims

DSM-5 provides nine diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder. All criteria have a pre-assumed equal diagnostic impact and are applied to all individuals and groups in an equal manner. The aims of the study are to analyse the structure underlying the diagnosis and to assess whether DSM-5 is equally applicable to different groups of gamblers.

Methods

Data from the 2009 German Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse and from a study on slot machine gamblers were used. Item Response Theory analysis was applied to estimate discrimination and severity parameters of the criteria. With the use of Differential Item Functioning analysis, potential criterion biases were analysed. We analysed data from 107 participants from the general population sample and 376 participants from the slot machine gamblers’ sample who answered a 19-item diagnostic questionnaire based on the DSM criteria for gambling disorder.

Results

A single underlying factor, the severity of gambling disorder, was identified in both samples. In the general population sample the criteria of preoccupation and chasing were least severe and showed low discriminatory power. Bailout, withdrawal and jeopardized matters criteria had highest severity and discriminatory power. The comparison of the two samples revealed two criterion biases in the preoccupation and tolerance criteria.

Conclusions

The structure underlying the criteria is unidimensional but the disorder is manifested differently depending on disorder severity. The assumed equal impact of each criterion lacks support in the findings. The DSM-5 criteria measure a partially different construct in slot machine gamblers than in gamblers in the general population.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Pawel Sleczka, Barbara Braun, Bettina Grüne, Gerhard Bühringer and Ludwig Kraus

Objectives

Male sex, young age, and frequent gambling are considered as risk factors for gambling disorder (GD) and stress might be one of the triggers of gambling behavior among problem gamblers. Conversely, well-developed coping with stress might counteract gambling problems. The Proactive Coping Theory provides a promising approach for the further development of preventive and treatment measures. The objective of the study was to investigate different facets of proactive coping (PC) in young male gamblers.

Methods

Young men from Bavaria were recruited via the Munich citizens’ registry (n = 2,588) and Facebook invitations (n = 105). In total, 173 out of 398 individuals were positively screened for frequent gambling and/or signs of related problems and completed the baseline questionnaire of the Munich Leisure-time Study. Factors investigated include gambling problems, PC, impulsiveness, social support, and psychological distress.

Results

Gambling problems were associated with lower levels of preventive coping as well as of adaptive reaction delay. The associations were also significant when controlled for impulsiveness and general psychological distress. Preventive coping moderated the association between social support and gambling problems.

Discussion and conclusions

Young men with gambling problems less frequently prevent the occurrence of stressors and more often react hasty when these occur. While the investigated group reported good social support, this factor was negatively associated with GD only among individuals with good preventive coping. Preventive coping poses a useful construct for selective prevention and treatment as it can be modified in professional interventions.

Open access

Abstract

Aims

This study examined changes in general population gambling in the light of two major amendments of the German gambling regulation, the Fifth Amendment of the German Gambling Ordinance (AGO) for commercial amusement machines with prizes (AWP) and the State Treaty on Gambling (STG) for gambling activities subject to the state monopoly.

Methods

Applying cross-sectional data from the 2006 and 2009 Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse (ESA), propensity-score-matched samples of 7,970 subjects and 3,624 12-month gamblers aged 18–64 years were used for analyses. Logistic regression was employed to examine changes in gambling controlling for possible confounding variables.

Results

Overall participation in state gambling activities, participation in lotto as well as TV lottery decreased and gambling on Internet card games increased. No changes were found for any other gambling activity, 12-month prevalence of any gambling and pathological gambling. While weekly gambling declined, overall multiple gambling increased. Effects were similar in the total sample and among current gamblers.

Conclusions

Prohibiting specific gambling activities, e.g., Internet gambling, seem to be insufficient approaches to change gambling behavior. Supply reduction might need to be enhanced by changes in game characteristics and implementation of early intervention measures. However, long-term consequences are uncertain and further monitoring is needed.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Barbara Braun, Monika Ludwig, Pawel Sleczka, Gerhard Bühringer and Ludwig Kraus

Abstract

Background and aims

As only a minority of pathological gamblers (PGr) presents for treatment, further knowledge about help-seeking behavior is required in order to enhance treatment utilization. The present study investigated factors associated with treatment participation in gamblers in Germany. As subclinical pathological gamblers (SPGr, fulfilling one to four DSM-IV-criteria) are target of early intervention due to high risk of transition to pathological gambling, they were subject of special interest.

Methods

The study analyzed data from a general population survey (n = 234, SPGr: n = 198, PGr: n = 36) and a treatment study (n = 329, SPGr: n = 22, PGr: n = 307). A two-step weighting procedure was applied to ensure comparability of samples. Investigated factors included socio-demographic variables, gambling behavior, symptoms of pathological gambling and substance use.

Results

In PGr, regular employment and non-German nationality were positively associated with being in treatment while gambling on the Internet and gaming machines and fulfilling more DSM-IV-criteria lowered the odds. In SPGr, treatment attendance was negatively associated with married status and alcohol consumption and positively associated with older age, higher stakes, more fulfilled DSM-IV criteria and regular smoking.

Conclusions

In accordance to expectations more severe gambling problems and higher problem awareness and/or external pressure might facilitate treatment entry. There are groups with lower chances of being in treatment: women, ethnic minorities, and SPGr. We propose target group specific offers, use of Internet-based methods as possible adaptions and/or extensions of treatment offers that could enhance treatment attendance.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Barbara Braun, Monika Ludwig, Pawel Sleczka, Gerhard Bühringer and Ludwig Kraus
Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Anja Kräplin, Stefan Scherbaum, Eva-Maria Kraft, Florian Rehbein, Gerhard Bühringer, Thomas Goschke and Thomas Mößle

Abstract

Background and aims

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is associated with impaired inhibitory control and more impulsive decision-making. However, it remains unclear whether these associations are cross-sectional or predictive. We aimed to test the hypotheses that lower inhibitory control and more impulsive decision-making correlate with, are predicted by and predict more time spent on gaming and higher IGD severity.

Methods

A stratified convenience sample of 70 male participants (18–21 years) was recruited to achieve broad data variability for hours spent on gaming and IGD severity. In three annual assessments (T1, T2, T3), we measured gaming behaviour and IGD severity using the Video Game Dependency Scale (CSAS-II). Both gaming-related measures were correlates (T1), predictors (T2), or outcomes (T3) of inhibitory control and decision making, which were assessed at T2 using a go/no-go task and an intertemporal-choice task, respectively.

Results

Higher IGD severity at T1 predicted more impulsive decision-making at T2 (β = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.14–0.76). Lower inhibitory control at T2 predicted more hours spent on gaming at T3 (β = −0.13, 95% CI = −0.25 to −0.02). We found weak or no evidence for the other associations.

Discussion and conclusions

Lower inhibitory control predicts more time spent gaming, possibly due to insufficient top-down regulation of the behaviour. Impulsive decision-making is rather a consequence of IGD than a predictor, which may be due to altered reward learning. One-dimensional etiological assumptions about the relationship between neurocognitive impairments and IGD seem not to be appropriate for the complexity of the disorder.

Open access