Probing Gambling Urge as a State Construct: Evidence From a Sample of Community Gamblers


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Abstract

Little effort has been made to systematically test the psychometric properties of the Gambling Craving Scale (GACS; Young & Wohl, 2009). The GACS is adapted from the Questionnaire on Smoking Urges (Tiffany & Drobes, 1991) and thus measures gambling-related urge. Crucially, the validation of scales assessing gambling urge is complex because this construct is better conceptualized as a state (a transient and context-determined phenomenon). In the present study, we tested the psychometric properties of the French version of the GACS with 2 independent samples of community gamblers following an induction procedure delivered through an audio-guided imagery sequence aimed at promoting gambling urge. This procedure was specifically used to ensure the assessment of gambling urge as a state variable. Participants also completed measures of gambling severity, gambling cognitions and motives, impulsivity, and affect. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that the original 3-factor solution (anticipation, desire, relief) did not fit the data well. Additional exploratory factor analysis suggested instead a 2-factor solution: an intention and desire to gamble dimension and a relief dimension. The factorial structure resulting from the exploratory factor analysis was tested with confirmatory factor analysis in a second independent sample, resulting in an acceptable fit. The 2 dimensions presented good internal reliability and correlated differentially with the other study’s variables. The current study showed that, similar to what has been reported for substance-related urges, gambling urges are adequately probed with a bidimensional model. The findings suggest that the French GACS has good psychometric properties, legitimizing its use in research and clinical practice.

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