The application of a theoretical model of personality disorders to problem gambling

2017-02-24T00:24:51Z (GMT) by Brown , Meredith Helen
This dissertation commences by providing a thorough review of the literature in the study entitled ‘The Application of an Etiological Model of Personality Disorders to Problem Gambling.’ This manuscript elucidates that personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder (BPD), are highly comorbid with problem gambling. This review also suggests that BPD and problem gambling share similarities across multiple variables included in the biosocial developmental model of BPD (Crowell, Beauchaine, & Linehan, 2009), including early parent-child interactions, emotion regulation, co-morbid psychopathology and negative outcomes. Given that the problem gambling literature is currently relatively atheoretical, examining the applicability of this model to problem gambling may theoretically advance the problem gambling literature. On the basis of these findings, the first empirical manuscript entitled ‘An Empirical Study Of Personality Disorders Among Treatment Seeking Problem Gamblers’ describes a research study that used a sample of treatment seeking problem gamblers to explore the relationship between personality disorder symptoms and problem gambling severity and to examine some of the variables from the biosocial developmental model. The findings revealed that Cluster A and C personality disorder symptoms were significantly correlated with problem gambling severity and a number of the variables from the model were correlated with problem gambling severity for all problem gamblers. Among those individuals screening positive for a personality disorder, these relationships were stronger and some relationships became significant that were not significant for the overall sample. These findings suggest that personality disorders have a significant presence in the presentation of problem gambling and that variables from the biosocial developmental model are relevant to all problem gamblers but are particularly heightened among those problem gamblers with a personality disorder. The second empirical manuscript entitled ‘Commonalities in the Psychological Factors Associated with Problem Gambling and Borderline Personality Disorder’ provides a more in depth examination of the applicability of the biosocial developmental model to problem gambling in a large community sample. BPD and problem gambling severity were significantly correlated and the majority of variables of the biosocial developmental model predicted problem gambling severity. These findings further support the notion that aspects of the model are applicable to problem gambling. The final empirical manuscript entitled ‘A Proof of Concept for Using Brief Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a Treatment for Problem Gambling’ examined the use of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), a treatment for BPD based on the biosocial developmental model, for problem gamblers. The findings of this pilot study are encouraging, given that there were significant changes from pre to post measures across psychological distress, distress tolerance and mindfulness. Moreover, the change in emotion dysregulation was approaching significance. It was therefore concluded that DBT shows promise as a treatment for problem gambling and that this area would greatly benefit from further research. Taken together, the findings from this program of research provide support for the relationship between problem gambling and personality disorders, and suggest that the biosocial developmental model has some applicability to problem gambling, thereby providing some theoretical advancement of the problem gambling literature and also prompting further theoretical research.