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      Proactive coping and gambling disorder among young men

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          Male sex, young age, and frequent gambling are considered as risk factors for gambling disorder (GD) and stress might be one of the triggers of gambling behavior among problem gamblers. Conversely, well-developed coping with stress might counteract gambling problems. The Proactive Coping Theory provides a promising approach for the further development of preventive and treatment measures. The objective of the study was to investigate different facets of proactive coping (PC) in young male gamblers.


          Young men from Bavaria were recruited via the Munich citizens’ registry ( n = 2,588) and Facebook invitations ( n = 105). In total, 173 out of 398 individuals were positively screened for frequent gambling and/or signs of related problems and completed the baseline questionnaire of the Munich Leisure-time Study. Factors investigated include gambling problems, PC, impulsiveness, social support, and psychological distress.


          Gambling problems were associated with lower levels of preventive coping as well as of adaptive reaction delay. The associations were also significant when controlled for impulsiveness and general psychological distress. Preventive coping moderated the association between social support and gambling problems.

          Discussion and conclusions

          Young men with gambling problems less frequently prevent the occurrence of stressors and more often react hasty when these occur. While the investigated group reported good social support, this factor was negatively associated with GD only among individuals with good preventive coping. Preventive coping poses a useful construct for selective prevention and treatment as it can be modified in professional interventions.

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          Most cited references 59

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          Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach

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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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              The relationship between self-reported received and perceived social support: a meta-analytic review.

              Social support is broad term encompassing a variety of constructs, including support perceptions (perceived support) and receipt of supportive behaviors (received support). Of these constructs, only perceived support has been regarded as consistently linked to health, and researchers have offered differing assessments of the strength of the received-perceived support relationship. An overall estimate of the received-perceived support relationship would clearly further the dialogue on the relationship between received and perceived support and thus assist in the theoretical development of the field. This study evaluated all available studies using the Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors (ISSB; Barrera, Sandler, & Ramsey, 1981, American Journal of Community Psychology, 9, 435-447) and any measure of perceived social support. Using effect sizes from 23 studies, we found an average correlation of r = .35, p < .001. Implications of this estimate for further development of models of social support as well as interventions to enhance social support are discussed.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                11 November 2016
                : 5
                : 4
                : 639-648
                [ 1 ] IFT Institut für Therapieforschung , München, Germany
                [ 2 ]Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Technische Universität Dresden , Dresden, Germany
                [ 3 ]Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, Stockholm University , Stockholm, Sweden
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Pawel Sleczka; IFT Institut für Therapieforschung, Parzivalstr. 25, D-80804 München, Germany; Phone: +49 89 36 08 04 35; Fax: +49 89 36 08 04 46; E-mail: sleczka@
                © 2016 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 56, Pages: 10
                Funding sources: Funding was provided as an unrestricted grant by the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance, Regional Development and Regional Identity via the Bavarian State Ministry of Public Health and Care Services in the context of the Bavarian Coordination Centre for Gambling Issues (LSG Bayern).
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