Arousal, mood and problem gambling: evidence for hope as a psychological strength among at-risk individuals.

Keshavarz, Shahriar (2020) Arousal, mood and problem gambling: evidence for hope as a psychological strength among at-risk individuals. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Although gambling is often viewed as a harmless form of entertainment activity, some individuals report significant problems associated with their gambling behaviour. Consequently, many scholars have made it their life’s work to study the aetiology of problem gambling and contribute to the development of intervention and treatment programs. While decades of research indicate that the aetiology of problem gambling is complex and multi-faceted, two factors – arousal and mood – consistently emerge in the literature. However, studies investigating their effects on gambling behaviour have produced mixed results. In Chapter 2, it was hypothesised that this may be due to studies focusing on arousal and mood in isolation, neglecting possible interactions between them. Consistent with predictions, across two experiments (N = 124) it was shown that the inconsistencies reported in the gambling literature are due to studies largely examining the role of arousal and mood on gambling behaviour in isolation, neglecting possible interactions between them. Results show that as severity of negative mood increases (via increases in physiological arousal), so does gambling intensity, consonant with reports that some individuals use gambling to cope with/escape aversive states. Results also show that increases in the intensity of positive mood (via increases in arousal) decrease gambling intensity, consistent with reports that some individuals use gambling to enhance positive affect (i.e., seek increases in arousal/excitement to reach an optimal state). These findings are in line with previous reports that there are two primary subtypes of gamblers: (1) individuals who use gambling to cope with/escape aversive states (escape-seekers), and (2) those who gamble to enhance positive affect (enhancement gamblers). This highlights the need to develop specific targeted interventions which will be differentially effective across these subtypes. A look to the gambling literature indicates that escape-seekers are more vulnerable to developing problem gambling than other subtypes of gamblers, which is why it is important to develop intervention and treatment programs that protect escape-seekers from problem gambling. Chapter 4 put the following hypothesis to the test: hope can protect at-risk individuals (i.e., individuals who gamble to escape problems and negative emotions) from problematic gambling. Across two experiments (N = 106) and one questionnaire study (N = 122) findings indicate that hope – a psychological construct rooted in Positive Psychology – can protect populations resembling escape-seekers from excessive and potentially problematic gambling. Furthermore, in Chapter 5, two exploratory studies were conducted to explore whether (a) potential predictors of hope can also make for positive intervention and prevention, and (b) hope can also aid in the recovery process. First, it was hypothesised that good quality sleep and nutritional intake are related to increased levels of hope, which is in turn related to reduced gambling severity among at-risk individuals; this hypothesis was put to the test via a questionnaire study (N = 214). Second, it was hypothesised that hope is related to help-seeking intentions among at-risk individuals; this hypothesis was put to the test via a separate questionnaire study (N = 116). Consistent with predictions, findings from these two studies reveal that (1) good quality sleep and nutritional intake can increase hope levels and hope levels can in turn reduce problem gambling severity, suggesting that predictors of hope can also make for positive intervention and prevention among at-risk populations, and (2) individuals high in hope are more likely to seek help if gambling-related problems were to emerge, suggesting that, as well as making for positive intervention and prevention, hope can also aid in the recovery process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 10:41
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2021 10:41
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81054
DOI:

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