Explanations for problem gambling


Biological factors

Eisen et al- there is evidence from twin studies to support the idea of a genetic vulnerability to pathalogical gambling

Comings- the genetic process involves dopamine and seratonin

Cavedini- found a link between frontal lobe dysfunction and problem gambling

Shionhara- certain neurotransmitter levels are increased in gamblers after a big win- this is what motivates them to continue

rapid levels of dopamine and noradrenaline have been found in people after gambling and in pathalogical gamblers in the anticipatory stage before

meyer et al- compared a group of problem gamblers during gambling and during a card game not for money- found increased secretion of cortisol and herat rate in gambling condition

Rosenthal et al- over 60% of gamblers reported physical withdrawal symptoms, some even worse than the control group on withdrawal from drugs

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Sociocultural factors

it has been found that those who have greater access to gambling are more likely to become problem gamblers

Landoucer et al- looked at gambling patters in different countries and found gambling rates increased with availability of gambling- a furthur study found different results

alcohol is thought to increase gambling behaviour but there is inconsistant evidence for this

Pols and Hawks- young game machine players have shown to persist more after a loss when drinking

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Psychological factors

Cognitive processing- mood states influence severity of gambling- gamblers report that they gamble to escape feeling depressed or a bad day - can become a discrimitive stimulus -

this is because when bored or depressed seratonin levels drop, gambling has been found to increase these levels by activating the endogenous opioid system and increasing endorphins and enkephalin

Delfabbro et al- 75% of thoughts during gambling are irrational and encourage furthur risk taking behaviour, the biological response maintains the arousal and motivates furthur gambling, they egg themselves on- links to self esteem - supported by Tarrier and Schotte-  who found a relationship between the frequency of verbalisations and arousal levels whem gambling

Oei and Raylu- childrens attitudes towards gambling are influenced by their parents- especially their fathers - this links to the psychodynamic approach which states that children identify more with their fathers and also the statistic that men are more likely to gamble as found by Jacobs

operant conditioning- encourages gambling by rewarding people with the buzz of winning- they re-gamble to feel this again- this doesnt explain why people gamble their life away

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psychological cont...

Kruegar et al- impulsivity correlates with severity of gambling behaviour because an impulsive person does not rationalise their behaviour, they focus on the here and now, not the potential implications of their actions, they DO not THINK

Meyer et al- people who score high on impulsivity ratings showed higher heart rate during gambling- this is a biological response but it is controlled by operant conditioning, the body responds to the increased heart rate and maintains the behaviour because of positive reward

carlton and manowitz- there is a higher rate of ADHD reported in pathalogical gamblers than in the whole population- this is linked to impulsivity

this could also be learnt throught the vicarious experience by watching someone gain the positive rewards of money or happiness and thus maintain your behaviour and expect the same result (outcome expectancy model)

intermittent reinforcement- rewards every now and then so the individual does not grow bored or used to them, maintain gambling with the anticipation of a reward at any random interval (e.g. fruit machines) dont give up - explains why gamblers continue in heavy debt- account for the maintenece of gambling addictions but is reductionist in explaining the formation

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