Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 363–378

The Relationship among Negative Affect, Distress Tolerance, and Length of Gambling Abstinence Attempt

  • Stacey B. Daughters
  • C. W. Lejuez
  • David R. Strong
  • Richard A. Brown
  • Robert B. Breen
  • Henry R. Lesieur

The present study tested the theory that negative affect and one’s ability to tolerate distress is associated with failure to quit gambling during an abstinence attempt. Specifically, 16 current pathological gamblers who had at least one sustained period of gambling abstinence lasting a minimum of 3 months (i.e., delayed relapsers) and 16 current pathological gamblers who had never remained abstinent for a period longer than 2 weeks (i.e., immediate relapsers), were assessed for baseline levels of negative affect and stress reactivity, as well as faced with a psychological (mental arithmetic) and physical (breath holding) stressor. Compared to the delayed relapsers, the immediate relapsers displayed higher levels of negative affect and stress reactivity. Immediate relapsers also were less likely to persist on the psychological stressor, suggesting that one’s ability to tolerate the initial discomfort of an abstinence attempt may play an important role in gambling treatment outcome.

Key words

gambling distress tolerance negative affect assessment abstinence 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blanco, C., Ibanez, A., Saiz-Ruiz, J., Blanco-Jerez, C., Nunes, E. V. 2000Epidemiology, pathophysiologiy, and treatment of pathological gamblingCNS Drugs13397407Google Scholar
  2. Blaszczynski, A., McConaghy, N., Frankova, A. 1991Control versus abstinence in the treatment of pathological gambling: A two to nine year follow-upBritish Journal of Addictions86299306Google Scholar
  3. Blaszczynski, A., Nower, L. 2002A pathways model of problem pathological gamblingAddiction97487499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blaszczynski, A., Silove, D. 1995Cognitive and behavioral therapies for pathological gamblingJournal of Gambling Studies11195220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brandon, T. H., Herzog, T. A., Juliano, L. M., Irvin, J. E., Lazev, A. B., Nath, V. 2003Pretreatment task-persistence predicts smoking cessation outcome.Journal of Abnormal Psychology112448456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, R. A., Lejuez, C. W., Kahler, C. W., Strong, D. 2002Distress tolerance and duration of past smoking cessation attemptsJournal of Abnormal Psychology111180185Google Scholar
  7. Cocco, N., Sharpe, L., Blaszczynski, A. P. 1995Differences in preferred level of arousal in two sub-groups of problem gamblers: A preliminary reportJournal of Gambling Studies11221229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crockford, D. N., El-Guebaly, N. 1998Psychiatric comorbidity in pathological gambling: A critical reviewCanadian Journal of Psychiatry434350Google Scholar
  9. Cummings, C., Gordon, J., Marlatt, G. A. 1980

    Relapse: Prevention and prediction

    Miller, W. R. eds. The addictive behaviorsPergamon PressSydney
    Google Scholar
  10. Daughters, S. B., Lejuez, C. W., Kahler, C., Strong, D., Brown, R. 2005Psychological distress tolerance and duratin of most recent abstinence attempt among residential treatment seeking substance abusersPsychology of Addictive Behaviors19208211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De la Gandara, J. J. (1999). Fluoxetine: Open-trial in pathological gambling. Presented at: 152 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, May 16–21, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  12. Deary, I. J., Ebmeier, K. P., MacLeod, K. M., Dougall, N., Hepburn, D. A., Frier, B. M.,  et al. 1994PASAT performance and the pattern of uptake of–super (99 m)Tc-exametazime in brain estimated with single photon emission tomographyBiological Psychology38118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dell, L. J., Ruzicka, M. F., Palisi, A. T. 1981Personality and other factors associated with the gambling addictionThe International Journal of the Addictions16149156Google Scholar
  14. Diehr, M. C., Heaton, R. K., Miller, W., Grant, I. 1998The paced auditory serial addition task (PASAT): Norms for age, education, and ethnicityAssessment5375387Google Scholar
  15. Eber, G. B., Shaffer, H. J. 2000Trends in bio-behavioral gambling studies research: Quantifying citationsJournal of Gambling Studies16461467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Echeburua, E., Baez, C., Fernandez-Montalvo, J. 1994Effectividad diferencial de diversas modalidades terapeuticas en el tratamiento psicologico del juego patologico: Un studio experimentalAnalisis y Modificacion de Conducta20617643Google Scholar
  17. Ferrioli, M., & Ciminero, A. R., (1981). The treatment of pathological gambling as an addictive behavior. In W. R. Eadington (ed.), Proceedings of the fifth national conference on gambling and risk taking. University of Nevada: Bureau of Business and Economic Research.Google Scholar
  18. Gabourey, A., Ladouceur, R. 1989Erroneous perceptions and gamblingJournal of Social Behaviour and Personality4411420Google Scholar
  19. Gossop, M., Stewart, D., Browne, N., Marsden, J. 2002Factors associated with abstinence, lapse, or heroin use after residential treatment: protective effect of coping responsesAddiction9712591267Google Scholar
  20. Greenberg, D., Marks, I. 1982Behvioural psychotherapy of uncommon referralsBritish Journal of Psychiatry141148153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gupta, R., Marget, N., & Derevensky, J. L. (2000). Youth problem gamblers: The importance of coping skills. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, Las Vegas.Google Scholar
  22. Hajek, P., Belcher, M., Stapleton, J. 1987Breath-holding endurance as a predictor of success in smoking cessationAddictive Behaviors12285288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hajek, P. 1991Individual differences in difficulty quitting smokingBritish Journal of Addiction86555558Google Scholar
  24. Hodgins, D. C. 2001Processes of changing gambling behaviorAddictive Behaviors26121128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hollander, E., DeCaria, C. M., Finkell, J. N., Begaz, T., Wong, C. M., Cartwright, C. 2000A randomized double-blind fluvoxamine/placebo crossover trial in pathologic gamblingBiological Psychiatry47813817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hollander, E., DeCaria, C. M., Mari, E., Wong, C. M., Mosovich, S., Grossman, R., Begaz, T. 1998Short-term single-blind fluvoxamine treatment of pathological gamblingAmerican Journal of Psychiatry15517811783Google Scholar
  27. King, S. A., Barak, A. 1999Compulsive internet gambling: A new form of an old clinical pathologyCyberPsychology & Behavior2441456Google Scholar
  28. Ladouceur, R., Sylvain, C., Boutin, C., Lachance, S., Doucet, C., Leblond, J., Jacques, C. 2001Cognitive treatment of pathological gamblingJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease189774780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lejuez, C. W., Kahler, C. W., Brown, R. A. 2003A Modified Computer Version of the Paced Auditory Serial Learning Task (PASAT) as a Laboratory-Based StressorJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry26290293Google Scholar
  30. Lesieur, H. R., Blume, S. B. 1987The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS): A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblersAmerican Journal of Psychiatry14411841188Google Scholar
  31. Lesieur, H. R., Rosenthal, R. J. 1991Pathological gambling: A review of the literature (Prepared for the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on DSM-IV Committee on Disorders of Impulse Control Not Elsewhere Classified)Journal of Gambling Studies7540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lightsey, O. R., Hulsey, C. D. 2002Impulsivity, Coping, Stress, and Problem Gambling Among University StudentsJournal of Counseling Psychology49202211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marlatt, G. A., Gordon, J. R. 1985Relapse prevention: maintenance strategies in the treatement of addictive behaviorsGuilford PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. McConaghy, N., Armstrong, M. S., Blaszczynski, A., Allcock, C. 1983Controlled comparison of aversive therapy and imaginal desensitisation in compulsive gamblingBritish Journal of Psychiatry142366372Google Scholar
  35. McConaghy, N., Blaszczynski, A., Frankova, A. 1991Comparison of imaginal desensitization with other behavioural treatments of pathological gambling: A two-to-nine-year follow-upBritish Journal of Psychiatry159390393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McCormick, R. A. 1994The importance of coping skill enhancement in the treatment of the pathological gamblerJournal of Gambling Studies107786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nower, L. M., Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. (2000). Taking risks: A comparison of impulsivity and sensation seeking among youth gamblers. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, Las Vegas.Google Scholar
  38. Radloff, L. S. 1977The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general populationApplied Psychological Measurement1385401Google Scholar
  39. Scannell, E. D., Quirk, M. M., Smith, K., Maddern, R., Dickerson, M. 2000Females’ coping styles and control over poker machine gamblingJournal of Gambling Studies16417432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shepherd, L., & Dickerson, M., (2000). Situational coping with loss and control over gambling in regular poker machine players. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, Las Vegas.Google Scholar
  41. Smart, R. G., Ferris, J. 1996Alcohol, drugs and gambling in the Ontario adult population, 1994Canadian Journal of Psychiatry413645Google Scholar
  42. Stinchfield, R. 2002Reliability, validity, and classification accuracy of the South Oaks Gambling ScreenAddictive Behaviors27119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Strong, D. R., Breen, R. B., Lesieur, H. R., Lejuez, C. L. 2003Using the Rasch model to evaluate the South Oaks Gambling Screen for use with nonpathological gamblersAddictive Behaviors2814651472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Strong, D. R., Lesieur, H. R., Breen, R. B., Stinchfield, R., Lejuez, C. W. 2004Using a Rasch model approach to examine the utility of the SOGS across pathological and nonpathological gamblersAddictive Behaviors29465468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sylvain, C., Ladouceur, R. 1992Correction cognitive et habitudes de jeu chez les joureurs de poker videoRevue Canadienne des Sciences du Comportement22479489Google Scholar
  46. Sylvain, C., Ladouceur, R., Boisvert, J. 1997Cognitive and behavioral treatment of pathological gambling: A controlled studyJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology65727732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tellegen, A. 1982Brief manual for the multidimensional personality questionnaireUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUnpublished manuscriptGoogle Scholar
  48. Tellegen, A., Lykken, D. T., Bouchard, J., Thomas, J., Wilcox, K. J., Segal, N. L., Rich, S. 1988Personality similarity in twins reared apart and togetherJournal of Personality and Social Psychology5410311039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Toneatto, T., Blitz-Miller, T., Calderwood, K., Dragonetti, R., Tsanos, A. 1997Cognitive distortions in heavy gamblingJournal of Gambling Studies13253266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tonneatto, T., Sobell, L. C. 1990Pathological gambling treated with cognitive behavior therapy: A case reportAddictive Behaviors15497501Google Scholar
  51. Viets, V. C. L., Miller, W. R. 1997Treatment approaches for pathological gamblersClinical Psychology Review17689702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Welte, J. W., Barnes, G. M., Wieczorek, W. F., Tidwell, M. C., Parker, J. 2002Gambling participation in the U.S.—results from a national SURVEYJournal of Gambling Studies18313337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wills, T. A., Shiffman, S. 1985

    Coping and substance use: A conceptual framework

    Shiffman, S.Wills, T. A. eds. Coping and substance useAcademic PressSan Diego, CA324
    Google Scholar
  54. Wray, I., Dickerson, M. G. 1981Cessation of high frequency gambling and “withdrawal” symptomsBritish Journal of Addiction77401405Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacey B. Daughters
    • 1
  • C. W. Lejuez
    • 1
  • David R. Strong
    • 2
  • Richard A. Brown
    • 2
  • Robert B. Breen
    • 3
  • Henry R. Lesieur
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Butler Hospital and Brown University School of MedicineUSA
  3. 3.Rhode Island HospitalUSA

Personalised recommendations