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A Comparison of Gambling-Related Cognitions and Behaviors in Gamblers from the United States and Spain

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Abstract

Few studies have compared the clinical characteristics of gambling disorder (GD) from a cross-cultural perspective. In the present study, we aimed to examine differences in gambling-related cognitions, gambling preferences, GD severity and other clinical and sociodemographic variables in individuals with GD in the United States and Spain. Two groups of participants with GD (from the United States of America (US; n = 109) and Spain (n = 243) were compared using the South Oaks gambling screen and the gambling-related cognitions scale. In Spain, the prevalence of participants who reported only non-strategic gambling preferences was higher, whereas in the US, participants tended to engage in a wider breadth of gambling activities. Moreover, Spanish participants reported higher GD severity, while participants in the US endorsed greater gambling-related cognitions. Our findings suggest that there may jurisdictional or cultural differences in terms of gambling-related cognitions, gambling preferences, and GD severity levels among individuals in the US versus Spain. These differences, which may reflect cultural regulatory or other factors, should be investigated further, and considered when developing and implementing interventions for GD.

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Individuals may inquire with Dr. Potenza and Dr. Jiménez-Murcia regarding availability of the data as there exist ongoing studies using the data. In order to avoid overlapping research efforts, Dr. Potenza and Dr. Jiménez-Murcia will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.

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Funding

Financial support was received through the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Grant PSI2011-28349 and PSI2015-68701-R). FIS PI14/00290, FIS PI17/01167 received aid from the Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad. CIBER Fisiología Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERobn) and CIBER Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), both of which are initiatives of ISCIII. We thank CERCA Programme/Generalitat de Catalunya for institutional support. Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) “Una manera de hacer Europa”/”a way to build Europe”. Investigación subvencionada por la Delegación del Gobierno para el Plan Nacional sobre Drogas (2017I067). GMB was supported by a postdoctoral grant from FUNCIVA. CVA is supported each one by a predoctoral Grant of the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (FPU16/01453). Dr. Potenza’s involvement was supported by a National Center for Responsible Gaming Center of Excellence grant and by the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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GMB, FFA, JMM, SJM and MNP formulated the research question, GMB, IMB, SJM and MNP designed the study, RG analyzed the data and GMB, TS, IMB, CVA, SJM and MNP wrote the article.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Susana Jiménez-Murcia or Marc N. Potenza.

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Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest. Marc Potenza has consulted for Rivermend Health, Opiant Therapeutics, Game Day Data, Addiction Policy Forum and AXA; has received research support from Mohegan Sun Casino and the National Center for Responsible Gaming; has participated in surveys, mailings or telephone consultations related to drug addiction, impulse-control disorders or other health topics; has consulted for and/or advised gambling, health and legal entities on issues related to impulse-control/addictive disorders; has provided clinical care in a problem gambling services program; has performed grant reviews for research-funding agencies; has edited journals and journal sections; has given academic lectures in grand rounds, CME events and other clinical or scientific venues; and has generated books or book chapters for publishers of mental health texts.

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The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008. All procedures involving human subjects were approved by the Yale Human Investigation Committee and the Bellvitge University Hospital Clinical Research Ethics Committee. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects.

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Gemma Mestre-Bach and Trevor Steward have shared first authorship.

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Mestre-Bach, G., Steward, T., Balodis, I.M. et al. A Comparison of Gambling-Related Cognitions and Behaviors in Gamblers from the United States and Spain. J Gambl Stud 37, 319–333 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-020-09971-0

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