There is an established link between risk-seeking behavior and problem gambling but it remains unclear whether problem gamblers are specifically attracted to the uncertainty of risky situations. We examined the relation between problem gambling severity and probabilistic discounting of monetary gains and losses among gamblers. Fifty-nine regular gamblers completed two discounting tasks in which they made choices between small, certain outcomes and larger, probabilistic outcomes. Contrary to our hypotheses, results showed that problem gambling severity did not relate to either type of discounting which is inconsistent with the idea that problem gamblers have a general tendency towards more risky choices relative to non-problem gamblers. Participants also completed the Gambling Expectancy Questionnaire (GEQ) that assesses affect-regulation expectancies of gambling. Based on responses to the GEQ, participants were subtyped into one of three groups and degree of discounting was compared across groups. Participants subtyped as having strong expectations that gambling augments positive mood made significantly riskier choices on both discounting tasks versus those subtyped as having strong expectations that gambling relieves negative mood and those subtyped as having neither expectation. This finding suggests that viewing gambling as a way to enhance positive mood may be related to the risk-taking element of gambling.
- Affect-regulation expectancies
- Probability discounting
- Problem gambling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Social Psychology