Submission Type

Lightning Talk

Submission Title

“I am a Gambler”: Identity Centrality Predicts Disordered Gambling Symptomatology

Session Title

Session 2-3-F: Lightning Talks

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

29-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Health Psychology | Social Psychology

Abstract

Abstract

Social identity theory posits that part of one’s sense of self is derived by membership in groups. When a given social identity is salient, people act in ways that are congruent with their social identity. In the current research, we assessed the hitherto untested idea that some gamblers self-identify as a member of a fraternity of gamblers, which may be associated with disordered gambling symptomatology. Importantly, social identity consists of 1) centrality (i.e., group membership is a core aspect of the self), 2) ingroup affect (i.e., group membership elicits positive feelings), and 3) ingroup ties (i.e., group membership provides social affiliation). Thus, a three-factor model of gambling identity was tested among a community sample of at-risk and disordered gamblers (N=225). Results showed that some gamblers can and do identify as a member of a fraternity of gamblers. Moreover, identity centrality was positively associated with symptoms of disordered gambling. However, neither ingroup affect nor ingroup ties were associated with disordered gambling symptomatology. Findings suggest that identification as a gambler may become problematic when that identity is a core aspect of how the self is defined. It may behoove treatment providers to assess and address identity centrality to facilitate treatment and recovery.

Implications

This study is the first to empirically establish that some gamblers can and do identify as a member of a gambling fraternity. Findings suggest that identity centrality may function as a novel risk factor for developing gambling problems. Therefore, targeting identity centrality may facilitate treatment and recovery from disordered gambling.

Keywords

gambling, social identity, disordered gambling symptomatology, identity centrality

Author Bio

Melissa Salmon is a third year PhD student in Psychology under Dr. Michael Wohl’s supervision at Carleton University. Her research interests focus on overcoming barriers to behavior change among people living with addiction. Specifically, she is interested in understanding disordered gambling and how perceptions of the self can be used to promote positive behavior change. She has published seven peer-reviewed papers and is currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Dr. Nassim Tabri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University. His research examines how different transdiagnostic factors (e.g., overvalued ideation, perfectionism, and impulsivity) may function together to proliferate and maintain engagement in various health compromising behaviors (e.g., disordered gambling and eating). Recent research includes how overvalued ideation of financial success may lead to and maintains disordered gambling.

Dr. Michael Wohl is a Professor of Psychology at Carleton University. His work focuses on factors that facilitate responsible gambling, and means to overcome barriers to behavior change. Recent research includes the behavior change utility of nostalgia for the pre-addicted self, and the influence of loyalty program membership on gambling. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers. To facilitate his gambling research, Wohl has received funding from national as well as international granting agencies.

Funding Sources

Funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant awarded to Dr. Wohl. The funding body had no involvement in any aspects of the research.

Competing Interests

None.

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May 29th, 1:45 PM May 29th, 3:10 PM

“I am a Gambler”: Identity Centrality Predicts Disordered Gambling Symptomatology

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Abstract

Social identity theory posits that part of one’s sense of self is derived by membership in groups. When a given social identity is salient, people act in ways that are congruent with their social identity. In the current research, we assessed the hitherto untested idea that some gamblers self-identify as a member of a fraternity of gamblers, which may be associated with disordered gambling symptomatology. Importantly, social identity consists of 1) centrality (i.e., group membership is a core aspect of the self), 2) ingroup affect (i.e., group membership elicits positive feelings), and 3) ingroup ties (i.e., group membership provides social affiliation). Thus, a three-factor model of gambling identity was tested among a community sample of at-risk and disordered gamblers (N=225). Results showed that some gamblers can and do identify as a member of a fraternity of gamblers. Moreover, identity centrality was positively associated with symptoms of disordered gambling. However, neither ingroup affect nor ingroup ties were associated with disordered gambling symptomatology. Findings suggest that identification as a gambler may become problematic when that identity is a core aspect of how the self is defined. It may behoove treatment providers to assess and address identity centrality to facilitate treatment and recovery.

Implications

This study is the first to empirically establish that some gamblers can and do identify as a member of a gambling fraternity. Findings suggest that identity centrality may function as a novel risk factor for developing gambling problems. Therefore, targeting identity centrality may facilitate treatment and recovery from disordered gambling.