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Problem-solving skills in male and female problem gamblers

Diane Borsoi, Tony Toneatto


The current study was designed to compare the self-reported problem-solving skills of male and female gamblers. In total, 148 females and 112 males (mean age = 43.6 years, SD = 12.0), responding to an advertisement for people concerned about their gambling, completed the Problem Solving Inventory (Heppner, 1988). The PSI consists of three factors related to self-perception of problem-solving: confidence, personal control and approach-avoidance style. Gamblers were categorized into three subgroups according to their DSM-IV scores: Asymptomatic, Problem, and Pathological. Results from a series of analyses of co-variance (co-varying for the confounding effects of current emotional distress) revealed that gender had no significant effect, but problem severity on appraisal of problem-solving confidence and sense of personal control had a significant effect. Pathological gamblers were less confident and felt less in control than the other subgroups while engaging in problem-solving activities. Problem gamblers tended to have more negative appraisals of control than Asymptomatic gamblers. Problem-solving skills were also a significant predictor of DSM-IV scores for pathological gambling (i.e., negative appraisals were associated with higher DSM-IV scores). The results suggest that problem-solving skills are deficient in pathological gamblers and problem gamblers, but are not related to gender.

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