Anger and Aggression in Gambling Disorder

Anger and Aggression in Gambling Disorder

Arshad Mahmood1, Tony Toneato2*

1Independent Practice.
2PhD. Director, Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health, New College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

International Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy

Higher rates of anger and aggression have been observed in problem gamblers. In this cross-sectional study the relationship between anger, aggression and a community sample of problem gamblers was examined within two subtypes of gambling: Perceived Skill Gambling (sports, cards, track) and Chance Gambling (bingo, lotteries, slot machines) gambling. Aggression and anger were assessed by the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) and the Trait Anger Scale (TAS), respectively. Results indicated that Perceived Skill Gamblers (i.e., sports, card, track) scored higher on expressing anger on the AQ as well as on the hostility, physical and verbal and aggression subscales of the TAS. There were no sex differences on any AQ subscale except for the Physical Aggression Subscale. We did not find gender differences on the TAS. The study shows evidence that Perceived Skill Gamblers experience more anger, hostility, physical and verbal aggression as measured by the AQ. The current findings contribute to an improved understanding of the complexity of the factors that are implicated in gambling disorder, and suggests that anger and aggression should be routinely assessed among disordered gamblers seeking treatment.

Keywords: problem gambling; anger; aggression; gambling treatment

Free Full-text PDF

How to cite this article:
Arshad Mahmood, Tony Toneato. Anger and Aggression in Gambling Disorder. International Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy, 2020; 3:21. DOI: 10.28933/ijart-2020-08-0605


1. Alvarez-Moya, E. M., Jimenez-Murcia, S., Granero, R., Vallejo, J., Krug, I., Bulik, C. M., & Fernandez-Aranda, F. (2007). Comparison of personality risk factors in bulimia nervosa and pathological gambling. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 48, 452–457.
2. Aymami, N., Granero, R., Penelo, E., Fernandez-Aranda, F., Krug, I., Gunnard, K., & San-tamaría, J. J. et al. (2014). Anger in pathological gambling: Clinical, psychopathological, and personality correlates. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17, 1–12.
3. Billieux, J., Achab, S., Savary, J., Simon, O., Richter, F., Zullino, D. & Khazaal, Y. (2016) Gambling and problem gambling in Switzerland. Addiction, 111, 1677–1683.
4. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97, 487–499.
5. Birkley, E., & Eckhardt, C. (2016). Anger, Hostility, Internalizing Negative Emotions, and Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration: A Meta-Analytic Review. Clinical Psychology Review. 37, 40–56.
6. Bonnaire, C., Lejoyeux, M. & Dardennes, R. (2004). Sensation Seeking in a French Population of Pathological Gamblers: Comparison with Regular and Nongamblers. Psychological Reports, 94, 1361 – 1371.
7. Buss, A.H., & Perry, M. (1992). The Aggression Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 452-459.
8. Campbell A., & Muncer S. (2008). Intent to harm or injure? Gender and the expression of anger. Aggressive Behavior, 34, 282–293.
9. Castren, S., Grainger, M., Lahti, T., Alho, H. & Salonen, A. (2015). At-risk and problem gambling among adolescents: a convenience sample of first-year junior high school students in Finland. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 10, 9.
10. Cunningham-Williams R. M., Gattis M. N., Dore P. M., Shi P., & Spitznagel E. L., Jr. (2009). Towards DSM-V: Considering other withdrawal-like symptoms of pathological gambling disorder. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 18, 13–22.
11. Diskin, K. M., & Hodgins, D. C. (1999). Narrowing of attention and dissociation in pathological video lottery gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15(1), 17–28.
12. Edmondson, D., Shaffer, J. A., Chaplin, W., Burg, M., Stone, A. & Schwartz, J. (2013). Trait anxiety and trait anger measured by ecological momentary assessment and their correspondence with traditional trait questionnaires. Journal Research in Personality, 47(6), 2-24.
13. Fernandez-Aranda, F., Jimenez-Murcia S., Alvarez-Moya, E. M., Granero, R., Vallejo, J., & Bulik, C. M. (2006). Impulse control disorders in eating disorders: Clinical and therapeutic implications. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 47, 482–488.
14. Fox, H. C., Hong K. I., Siedlarz K., & Sinha R. (2008). Enhanced emotional and physiological sensitivity to stress and drug/alcohol craving in abstinent cocaine-dependent individuals com-pared to socially drinking controls. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33, 796–805.
15. Goodyear-Smith, F., Arroll, B., Kerse, N., Sullivan, S., Coupe, N., Tse, S., & Perese, L. (2006). Primary care patients reporting concerns about their gambling frequently have other coccurring
Lifestyle and mental health issues. BMC Family
Practice, 7, 25.
16. Grant, J., & Kim, S.W. (2002). Gender differences in pathological gamblers seeking medication treatment. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 43, 56-62.
17. Grant, J. E., Odlaug, B., & Mooney, M. E. (2013). Telescoping phenomenon in pathological gambling: Association with gender and comorbidities. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 200(11), 996-998.
18. Kaare, P., Mottus, R., & Konstabel, K. (2009). Pathological Gambling in Estonia: Relationships with Personality, Self-Esteem, Emotional States and Cognitive Ability.Journal of Gambling Studies, 25, 377–390.
19. Korman, L., Collins, J., Littman-Sharpe, N., McMain, S., & Skinner, W. (2005). Concurrent gambling, substance use and anger: Development of a brief integrated treatment. Final Report. Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre.
20. Korman, L., Collins, J., Littman-Sharp, N., Skinner, W., McMain, S., & Mercado, V. (2008). Randomized control trial of an integrated therapy for comorbid anger and gambling. Psychotherapy Research, 18(4), 454-465.
21. Korman, L., Collins, J., Dutton, D. Dhayanan-than, B., Littman-Sharp, N., & Skinner, W. (2008). Problem Gambling and Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Gambling Studies, 24, 13–23.
22. Ledgerwood, D. & Petry, N. (2006). Psychological Experience of Gambling and Subtypes of Pathological Gamblers. Psychiatry Research, 144(4), 17–27.
23. Maniaci, G., Picone, F., Holst, R., Bolloni, C., Scardina, S. & Cannizzaro, C. (2017). Alterations in the emotional regulation process in gambling addiction: The role of anger and alexithymia. Journal of Gambling Studies, 33, 633–647.
24. Miguel-Tobal, J. J., Casado, M. I., Cano-Vindel, A., & Spielberger, C. D. (1997). Anger study in cardiovascular diseases using State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI). Ansiedad Estres, 3, 5–20.
25. Muelleman R. L., DenOtter T., Wadman M. C., Tran T. P., & Anderson J. (2002). Problem gambling in the partner of the emergency department patient as a risk factor for intimate partner violence. Emergency Medicine Journal, 23, 307–312.
26. Nichols, T. R., Graver, J. A., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Botvin, G. J. (2006). Sex differences in overt aggression and delinquency among urban minority school students. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 78–91.
27. Nower, L., Martins, S., Lin, K., & Blanco, C. (2013). Subtypes of disordered gamblers: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Addiction, 108, 789-798.
28. Parke, A., & Griffiths, M. (2004). Aggressive Behaviour In Slot Machine Gamblers: A preliminary observational study. Psychological Re-ports, 95, 109-114.
29. Rahman, A., Balodis, I., Pilver, C., Leeman, R., Hoff, R., Steinberg, M., Krishnan-Sarin, S. & Potenza, M. (2014) Adolescent alcohol-drinking frequency and problem-gambling severity: Adolescent perceptions regarding problem-gambling prevention and parental/adult behaviors and attitudes. Substance Abuse, 35(4), 426–434.
30. Raylu, N., & Oei, T. (2002). Pathological gambling: A comprehensive review. Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 1009-1061.
31. Rodriguez-Monguio, R. Errea, A. & Volberg, R. (2017). Comorbid pathological gambling, mental health, and substance use disorders: Health-care services provision by clinician specialty. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6(3), 406–415.
32. Sacco, P., Cunningham-Williams, R. M., Ost-mann, E., & Spitznagel, E. L. (2008). The association between gambling pathology and personality disorders. Journal of Psychiatric Re-search, 42, 1122–1130.
33. Serpelloni, G., & Rimondo, C. (2012). Problematic and pathological gambling: General framework, physiopathological mechanisms, vulnerability, scientific evidence for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Italian Journal on Addiction, 2(3), 7–44.
34. Spielberger, C.D., Jacobs, G., Russel, S., & Crane, R. (1983). Assessment of anger: The State-Trait Anger Scale. In J.N., Butcher and C.D. Spielberger (eds.), Advances in personality assessment, pp. 159-187. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
35. Stewart, S. H., Zack, M., Collins, P., & Klein, R. M. (2008). Subtyping pathological gamblers on the basis of affective motivations for gambling: Relations to gambling problems, drinking problems, and affective motivations for drinking. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 22, 257–268.
36. Toneatto, T., & Nguyen, L. (2007). Individual characteristics and problem gambling behavior. In G. Smith, D. Hodgins & R. Williams (Eds). Research and Measurement Issues in Gambling Studies. Elsevier.
37. Toneatto, T., Pillai, S., & Courtice, E. L. (2014). Mindfulness-enhanced cognitive behavior therapy for problem gambling: A controlled pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 12, 197-205.
38. Toneatto, T., Turner, N., Zack, M., Farvolden, P., Bagby, M., & Millar, G. The Heterogeneity of
39. Problem Gambling: An Analysis of Gambling Sub-Types. Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre. 2005.
40. Walitzer, K. S., Deffenbacher, J. & Shyhalla, K. (2015). Alcohol-adapted anger management treatment: A randomized controlled trial of an innovative therapy for alcohol dependence. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, (59), 83–93.
41. Wong, G., Zane, N., & Chan, A. (2013). Examining gender differences for gambling engagement and gambling problems among emerging adults. Journal of Gambling Studies, 29(2), 171–189

Terms of Use/Privacy Policy/ Disclaimer/ Other Policies:
You agree that by using our site, you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by all of our terms of use/privacy policy/ disclaimer/ other policies (click here for details)

CC BY 4.0
This work and its PDF file(s) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.