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Slot Machine Response Frequency Predicts Pathological Gambling

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Slot machines are among the most addictive forms of gambling, and pathological gambling slot machine players represent the largest group of treatment seekers, accounting for 35% to 93% of the population. Pathological gambling sufferers have significantly higher response frequency (games / time) on slot machines compared with non-problem gamblers, which may suggest increased reinforcement of the gambling behavior in pathological gambling. However, to date it is unknown whether or not the increased response frequency in pathological gambling is associated with symptom severity of the disorder. This study tested the hypothesis that response frequency is associated with symptom severity in pathological gambling. We tested response frequency among twenty-two pathological gambling sufferers and twenty-one non-problem gamblers on a commercially available slot machine, and screened for pathological gambling symptom severity using the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). The results showed that pathological gambling sufferers had significantly higher response frequency than non-problem gamblers, and that response frequency was significantly correlated with SOGS symptom severity among pathological gambling sufferers. Finally, binary logistic regression showed that response frequency accurately identified 21 (95.5%) pathological gambling sufferers and 18 (85.7%) non-problem gamblers. The correlation between response frequency and SOGS may suggest a stronger reinforcement of gambling behavior in individuals with exacerbated pathological gambling symptoms. These findings may have important implications for detecting behaviors underlying pathological gambling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Psychological Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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