The effects of alcohol on the behaviours and cognitions of higher and lower risk gamblers during video lottery terminal play

Ellery, Michael. 
 Dalhousie University (Canada) ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2008. NR39208.

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation examines the effects of alcohol consumption on the behaviours and cognitions of gamblers during video lottery terminal (VLT) play in an ecologically valid laboratory-based setting. Experiment 1 examined the effects of a moderately intoxicating dose of alcohol on the behaviours of 22 probable pathological and 22 non-pathological gamblers during video lottery terminal play in a 2 x 2 between-subjects design (gambler classification by beverage condition). Behavioural outcome measures included: total money spent, mean bet magnitude, number of minutes played, and an index of risky play. Experiment 1 found that, relative to a control beverage, alcohol increased the amount of time spent playing and the frequency of risky betting, but only among probable pathological gamblers, as assessed by the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS; Lesieur & Blume, 1987). Experiment 2 extended the design to examine the effects of alcohol on VLT play behaviours and cognitions among 30 higher and 30 lower risk gamblers, as assessed by the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI; Wynne, 2003) as well as the SOGS. In addition to the behavioural measures, the Informational Biases Scale (IBS; Jefferson & Nicki, 2003) was administered to evaluate cognitions as possible mediators for behavioural changes. Beyond inclusion of the IBS and PGSI, Experiment 2 extended Experiment 1 in a number of ways, including the use of a placebo, rather than control, beverage condition, to control for alcohol expectancy effects; increasing the maximal period of play from 30 minutes; and use of updated video lottery terminal machines. It was hypothesised that alcohol consumption would increase irrational gambling cognitions and gambling behaviours, particularly among the higher risk gamblers, and that the behavioural changes would be mediated by the cognitive changes. Alcohol was found to increase the index of risky play among probable pathological gamblers, but did not affect their cognitions. Irrational cognitions of the non-pathological gamblers were maintained by alcohol over the gambling session, but their behaviours were unaffected. No effects of alcohol were found among the higher and lower risk groups classified by the PGSI. Policy and treatment implications are discussed.

Indexing (details)

Behaviorial sciences;
Cognitive therapy
0384: Behaviorial sciences
0622: Psychotherapy
0633: Cognitive therapy
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Alcohol; Cognitions; Gamblers; Video lottery terminal
The effects of alcohol on the behaviours and cognitions of higher and lower risk gamblers during video lottery terminal play
Ellery, Michael
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Dalhousie University (Canada)
University location
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL