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      A Multivariate Evaluation of 25 Proximal and Distal Risk-Factors for Gambling-Related Harm

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          Abstract

          Individual differences in the risk of developing gambling-related harm play an important role in theoretical models and practical interventions. The present study attempted comprehensive measurement and evaluation of 25 known risk factors for gambling-related harm in order to determine which factors provided large and unique explanatory power. We surveyed 1650 regular gamblers from an online panel, screening in 1174 (466 male) who passed all checks of attention and response consistency. We evaluated each risk factor based on bivariate correlations with harms, then made separate multivariate evaluations of proximal (e.g., gambling motivations) and distal (e.g., religiosity) risk factors. Almost all bivariate correlations were significant, but most distal factors were not significant in multivariate models. Trait impulsivity was the most important risk factor by a large margin. Excessive consumption, less use of safe gambling practices, and more fallacies were key proximal risks of harm. Many well-known correlates of gambling harm (e.g., youth, lower educational attainment) do not show a direct role in the development of gambling harm when controlling for other factors. The results support theoretical models that emphasise early conditioning and biological vulnerability (manifested through impulsivity). Since maladaptive cognitive and behavioural schemas appear to be more important than motivations (e.g., escape, excitement, ego), interventions may benefit by targeting these proximal drivers of harm.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Dopaminergic network differences in human impulsivity.

          Dopamine (DA) has long been implicated in impulsivity, but the precise mechanisms linking human variability in DA signaling to differences in impulsive traits remain largely unknown. By using a dual-scan positron emission tomography approach in healthy human volunteers with amphetamine and the D2/D3 ligand [18F]fallypride, we found that higher levels of trait impulsivity were predicted by diminished midbrain D2/D3 autoreceptor binding and greater amphetamine-induced DA release in the striatum, which was in turn associated with stimulant craving. Path analysis confirmed that the impact of decreased midbrain D2/D3 autoreceptor availability on trait impulsivity is mediated in part through its effect on stimulated striatal DA release.
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            The dominance analysis approach for comparing predictors in multiple regression.

            A general method is presented for comparing the relative importance of predictors in multiple regression. Dominance analysis (D. V. Budescu, 1993), a procedure that is based on an examination of the R2 values for all possible subset models, is refined and extended by introducing several quantitative measures of dominance that differ in the strictness of the dominance definition. These are shown to be intuitive, meaningful, and informative measures that can address a variety of research questions pertaining to predictor importance. The bootstrap is used to assess the stability of dominance results across repeated sampling, and it is shown that these methods provide the researcher with more insights into the pattern of importance in a set of predictors than were previously available.
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              Risk factors for problematic gambling: a critical literature review.

              This article is a critical review of risk factors for pathological gambling categorized by demographics, physiological and biological factors, cognitive distortions, comorbidity and concurrent symptoms, and personality symptoms and characteristics. There is also a varia section (availability, parents playing, sensory characteristics, schedules of reinforcement, age of onset, and playing duration). The review found very few well established risk factors for pathological gambling (i.e. more than two studies to support the conclusions). Well established risk factors included demographic variables (age, gender), cognitive distortions (erroneous perceptions, illusion of control), sensory characteristics, schedules of reinforcement, comorbid disorders (OCD, drug abuse), and delinquency/illegal acts. An understanding of risk factors for pathological gambling should enhance prevention and treatment approaches.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Clin Med
                J Clin Med
                jcm
                Journal of Clinical Medicine
                MDPI
                2077-0383
                13 April 2019
                April 2019
                : 8
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity, University Drive Bundaberg, Branyan, QLD 4670, Australia; n.hing@ 123456cqu.edu.au (N.H.); m.rockloff@ 123456cqu.edu.au (M.R.); a.m.russell@ 123456cqu.edu.au (A.M.T.R.); n.greer@ 123456cqu.edu.au (N.G.)
                [2 ]Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada; f.nicoll@ 123456ualberta.ca
                [3 ]Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada; garrysm@ 123456ualberta.ca
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: m.browne@ 123456cqu.edu.au ; Tel.: +61-7-5150-7002
                Article
                jcm-08-00509
                10.3390/jcm8040509
                6518151
                31013926
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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