Gambling disorder is a well-established behavioural addiction, which was classified with substance-related disorders in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Although craving was introduced as a new diagnostic criterion for substance-related disorders, it was not included for gambling disorder. This study aimed to explore the experience of gambling craving and to evaluate whether the elaborated intrusion theory of desire (EIT), a cognitive model of craving, fits gambling craving. A mixed methods study was conducted among 31 non-clinical gamblers. The qualitative part consisted of open-ended questions targeting the components of the EIT. The quantitative part consisted of a questionnaire designed to assess triggers and descriptions of gambling craving. Qualitative analysis revealed six distinct conceptual categories related to gambling craving: positive and negative affect, external cues, mental imageries, thoughts and physiological sensations. The quantitative analysis highlighted the most relevant triggers (e.g. spontaneous thoughts) and experiential characteristics (e.g. visual imagery) of gambling craving. The present study allowed the authors to support the relevance of the EIT as it applies to gambling craving by disentangling its core features. Findings from this study suggest that the use of interventions derived from the EIT may be relevant for problem gambling treatment.
- elaborated intrusion theory of desire
- mixed methods research
- problem gambling