Alessandro Grecucci, Gaia Lapomarda, Cinzia Giorgetta, Manuel Nicolé, Cesare Guerreschi, Alan G. Sanfey, Luisa Canal, Nicolao Bonini

A preliminary study on emotion regulation differences in pathological gamblers

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Impulsivity, pathological gambling, emotion regulation.

Previous studied showed an association between impulsivity and abnormal behaviors in pathological gamblers. However, impulsivity may be one of the causes leading to their problems. Other factors such as abnormalities in the perception of emotions associated with economic offers, or emotion dysregulation, may exacerbate their decisions. Last, but not least, an overconfidence in the quality of their decisions may contribute too to their decisions. To test for these hypotheses, we tested 11 individuals diagnosed pathological gamblers, and 17 normal controls in an intertemporal choice task that included questions about emotion perception (valence and arousal at a subjective level) after each choice. Moreover, after the experiment, participants were tested for anxiety, depression, emotion regulation abilities, and confidence in their choices. Results showed that as expected, gamblers scored higher on impulsivity questionnaires, but also in depression, usage of maladaptive regulation strategies, but not in anxiety or confidence in their choices. We conclude by speculating on the need to incorporate emotion regulation difficulties in terms of regulation strategies, dysregulated impulsivity and mood, in the conceptualization of pathological gambling for a better understanding and treatment of this pathology

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