The purpose of pre-commitment tools is to minimize gambling-related harms by cultivating responsible, positive gambling habits (e.g., setting a limit on expenditures before play, adherence to a pre-set limit should it be reached). However, operators have been challenged to spark interest in these tools as evidenced by disappointingly low uptake (only 1-10% of players use the RG tools provided by gambling operators). In the proposed program of research, we build on our previous findings that a hard lock option (where players cannot continue playing once their limit is reached) is more effective in reducing the number of visits and gambling expenditures over time compared to the standard, soft lock option (where players can continue playing after their limit is reached).

This project is funded by a grant from Pavilion Payments.

Principal Investigator: Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S., Harvard Medical School
Awarded $140,000 in 1996

Aim: Conduct a meta-analytic strategy to synthesize estimates of gambling disorder from 119 prevalence studies to determine a national rate of gambling disorder in the adult general population and subpopulations in the US and Canada. The findings were praised by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of Pathological Gambling as the most reliable estimates to date (Pathological Gambling: A Critical Review, 1999).

Shaffer, H. J., Hall, M.N., & Vander Bilt, J. (1997). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada: a meta-analysis. Boston: Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College.

Shaffer, H.J., Hall, M.N., & Vander Bilt, J. (1999). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada: A research synthesis. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 1369-1376.

Principal Investigator: Ken C. Winters, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Awarded $56,410 in 1997

Aim: Investigate youth gamblers over an eight-year period.

Derevensky, J. L., Gupta, R., & Winters, K. (2003). Prevalence rates of youth gambling problems: Are the current rates inflated? Journal of Gambling Studies, 19(4), 405–425.

Winters, K. C., & Anderson, N. (2000). Gambling involvement and drug use among adolescents. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16(2-3), 175–198.

Winters, K.C., Stinchfield, R.D., Botzet, A., & Slutske, W. (2005). Pathways of youth gambling problem severity. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19, 104-107.

Winters, K.C., Stinchfield, R.D., Botzet, A. & Anderson, N. (2002). A prospective study of youth gambling behaviors. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, 3-9.

Principal Investigator: Peter F. Goyer, MD, VA Medical Center-Cleveland
Awarded $138,000 in 1997

Aim: Test hypotheses that disordered gamblers, compared to controls, will perform more poorly on tests of attention and executive function, will have significantly reduced rCBF in frontal cortex and reduced dopamine D2 receptor function, and will be more likely to be carriers of the D2A1 allele for the dopamine D2 receptor gene.

Principal Investigator: Randy Stinchfield, Ph.D., Minnesota Institute on Public Health
Awarded $57,339 in 1997

Aim: Investigate the rate of gambling and gambling problems among Minnesota public school students.

Jimenez-Murcia, S., Alvarez-Moya, E., Stinchfield, R., Fernandez-Aranda, F., Granero, R., Aymami, M.N., Gomez-Pena, M., Jaurrieta, N., Bove, F., & Menchon, J.M. (2010). Age of onset in pathological gambling: Clinical, therapeutic and personality correlates. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26, 235-248.

Stinchfield, R. (2000). Gambling and correlates of gambling among Minnesota public school students. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 153-173

Stinchfield, R. (2000). Youth gambling prevalence studies. Proceedings of the Interprovincial Think Tank on Youth and Gambling, October 21-22, 1999, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (pp.15-40). Edmonton, Alberta:  Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission.

Stinchfield, R. (2001). A comparison of gambling by Minnesota public school students in 1992, 1995, and 1998. Journal of Gambling Studies, 17, 273-296.

Stinchfield, R. (2002). Youth gambling: How big a problem? Psychiatric Annals, 32, 197-202.

Stinchfield, R. (2004). Demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral factors associated with youth gambling and problem gambling. In J. Derevensky & R. Gupta (Eds.), Gambling problems in youth: Theoretical and applied perspectives (pp. 27-39). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Stinchfield, R. (2011). Gambling among Minnesota public school students from 1992 to 2007: Declines in youth gambling. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(1), 108-117.

Stinchfield, R., Cassuto, N., Winters, K., & Latimer, W. (2002). Prevalence of gambling among Minnesota Public School Students in 1992 and 1995. In J. J. Marotta, J. A. Cornelius, and W. R. Eadington (Eds.), The Downside: Problem and Pathological Gambling (pp. 287-308). Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Reno.

Stinchfield, R.D., Kushner, M., & Winters, K.C. (2005). Alcohol abuse and pathological gambling:  Impact on treatment outcome. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21(3), 273-297.

Stinchfield, R. & Winters, K.C. (1998). Gambling and problem gambling among youth. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 556, 172-185.

Stinchfield, R. & Winters, K. C. (2004). Epidemiology of adolescent and young adult gambling. In J. E. Grant & M. N. Potenza (Eds.), Pathological gambling: A Clinical Guide to Treatment, Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

Principal Investigator: David E. Comings, MD, The City of Hope National Medical Center
Awarded $159,900 in 1997

Aim: Investigate association between pathological gambling and multiple dopamine receptor genes thus lending support for the idea that people with gambling disorders have a deficient reward center that predisposes them to developing a gambling disorder.

Blum, K., Braverman, E. R., Holder, J. M., Lubar, J. F., Monastra, V. J., Miller, D., Lubar, J. O., Chen, T. J., & Comings, D. E. (2000). The reward deficiency syndrome: A biogenetic model for the diagnosis and treatment of impulsive, addictive, and compulsive behaviors. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 32(Suppl), i–iv, 1–112.

Comings, D.E. (1998). The molecular genetics of pathological gambling. CNS Spectrums, 3, 20-37.

Comings, D.E. (1999). Molecular heterosis as the explanation for the controversy about the effect of the DRD2 gene on dopamine D2 receptor density. Molecular Psychiatry, 4, 213-215.

Comings, D.E. (1999). SNPs and polygenic disorders: A less gloomy view. Molecular Psychiatry, 4, 314-316.

Comings, D.E. (2000). The molecular genetics of ADHD and conduct disorder: Relevance to the treatment of recidivistic antisocial behavior. In D. Fishbein (Ed.), Prevention of Antisocial Behavior. New York: Civic Research.

Comings, D.E. & Blum, K. (2000). Reward deficiency syndrome: Genetic aspects of behavioral disorders. In Uylings, et al. (Eds.), Cognition, Emotion and Autonomic Responses. Amsterdam:  Elsiver.

Comings, D.E., Chen, C., Wu, S. & Muhleman, D. (1999). Association of the androgen receptor gene (AR) with ADHD, and conduct disorder. Neuroreport, 10, 1589-1592.

Comings, D.E., Dietz, G., Johnson, J. P., & MacMurray, J. P. (1999). Association of Enkephalinase gene with low amplitude P300 waves. Neuroreport, 10, 2283-2285.

Comings, D.E., Gade-Andavolu, R., Gonzalez, N. Wu, S., Nuhleman, D., Chen, C., et al. (2002). The additive effect of neurotransmitter genes in pathological gambling. Clinical Genetics, 60, 107-116.

Comings, D. E., Gonzalez, N., Wu, S., Gade, R., Muhleman, D., Saucier, G., et al. (1999). Studies of the 48 bp repeat polymorphism of the DRD4 gene in impulsive, compulsive, addictive behaviors: Tourette syndrome, ADHD, pathological gambling, and substance abuse. American Journal of Medical Genetics Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 88, 358-368.

Wu, S. & Comings, D.E. (1999). A common C-1018G polymorphism in the human 5-HT1A receptor gene. Psychiatric Genetics, 9, 105-106.

Principal Investigator: David C. Hodgins, Ph.D., University of Calgary
Awarded $106,638 in 1997

Aim: Understand factors leading to a high relapse rate among a sample of disordered gamblers who had recently quit gambling.

Hodgins, D.C. (2001). Processes of changing gambling behavior. Addictive Behaviors, 26, 121-128.

Hodgins, D. C., Currie, S. R., & el-Guebaly, N. (2001). Motivational enhancement and self-help treatments for problem gambling. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 69, 50-57.

Hodgins, D. C. & el-Guebaly, N. (2004). Retrospective and prospective reports of precipitants to relapse in pathological gambling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 72-80.

Hodgins, D.C., Makarchuk, K., el-Guebaly, N. & Peden, N. (2002). Why problem gamblers quit gambling: A comparison of methods and samples. Addiction Research and Therapy, 10, 203-218.

Hodgins, D. C., Peden, N., & Cassidy, E. (2005). The association between comorbidity and outcome in pathological gambling: A prospective follow-up of recent quitters. Journal of Gambling Studies,21(3), 255-71.

Holub, A., Hodgins, D. C., & Peden, N. E. (2005). Development of the temptations for gambling questionnaire: A measure of temptation in recently quit gamblers. Addiction Research & Theory, 13(2), 179–191.

Thygesen, K. L., & Hodgins, D. C. (2003). Quitting again: Motivations and strategies for terminating gambling relapses. Journal of Gambling Issues, 9.

Principal Investigator: Robert Ladouceur, Ph.D., Universitié Laval
Awarded $140,499 in 1997

Aim: Test the efficacy of cognitive therapy—correcting the gambler’s erroneous assumptions about probability and statistics—as a treatment for pathological gamblers.

Ladouceur, R., & Shaffer, H.J. (2005). Treating problem gamblers: Working towards empirically supported treatment. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21(1), 1-4.

Ladouceur, R., Sylvain, C., Boutin, C., & Doucet, C. (2002). Understanding and treating pathological gamblers. London: Wiley.

Ladouceur, R., Sylvain, C., Boutin, C., Lachance, S., Doucet, C., Leblond, J., et al. (2001). Cognitive treatment of pathological gambling. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189, 774-780.

Ladouceur, R., & Walker, M. (1998). The cognitive approach to understanding and treating pathological gambling. In A.S. Bellack & M. Hersen (Eds.), Comprehensive Clinical Psychology, (pp. 588-601). New York: Pergamon.

Sylvain, C., Ladouceur, R., & Boisvert, J. M. (1997). Cognitive and behavioral treatment of pathological gambling: A controlled study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 727–732.

Principal Investigator: Nigel E. Turner, Ph.D., Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto
Awarded $33,748 in 1997

Aim: Understand how erroneous thoughts about the odds of winning contribute to the development of a gambling disorder.

Turner, N. E., Liu, E., & Toneatto, T. (2009). What does a random line look like: An experimental study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9, 60–71.

Principal Investigator: Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S., Harvard Medical School
Awarded $465,069 in 1998

Aim: Investigate several streams of research on gambling and gambling disorders: 1) prevalence and measuring prevalence; (2) a public health framework for gambling; 3) a three-year study of the health risks of casino employees; (4) how gambling and other behavioral addictions are changing the notion of addiction; and (5) trends in gambling research and publications.

Eber, G., B., & Shaffer, H. J. (2000). Trends in gambling studies research: quantifying citations. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16(34), 461-467.

Korn, D. A. & Shaffer, H.J. (1999). Gambling and the health of the public: Adopting a public health perspective. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15, 289-365.

Shaffer, H. J. (1999). Addiction and gambling disorders: On matters of measurement and validity. The Behavioral Measurement Letter, 6, 2-6.

Shaffer, H.J. (1999). On the nature and meaning of addiction. National Forum: The Phi Kappa Phi Journal, 79, 9-14.

Shaffer, H.J. (1999). Strange bedfellows: A critical view of pathological gambling and addiction. Addiction, 94, 1445-1448.

Shaffer, H. J. (2000). Addictive personality. In A. E. Kazdin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychology (4th ed., Vol. 1). Washington, D.C. & New York: American Psychological Association & Oxford University Press.

Shaffer, H.J., Eber, G.B., Hall, M., & Vander Bilt, J. (2000). Smoking behavior among casino employees: Self-report validation using plasma cotinine. Addictive Behaviors, 25, 693-704.

Shaffer, H. J., Forman, D. P., Scanlan, K., & Smith, F. (2000). Awareness of gambling-related problems, policies and educational programs among high school and college administrators. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 93-101.

Shaffer, H. J. & Hall, M. N. (2001). Updating and refining meta-analytic prevalence estimates of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 92, 168-172.

Shaffer, H.J., Hall, M.N., & Vander Bilt, J. (1999). Gambling, drinking, smoking and other health risk activities among casino employees. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 36, 365-378.

Shaffer, H.J., Hall, M.N., & Vander Bilt, J. (2000). “Computer addiction”: A critical consideration. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70, 162-168.

Shaffer, H. J. & Korn, D. A. (2002). Gambling and related mental disorders: A public health analysis, Annual Review of Public Health, 23, 171-212.