Trait and neurobiological underpinnings of negative emotion regulation in gambling disorder

Juan F. Navas, Oren Contreras-Rodriguez, Juan Verdejo-Román, Ana Perandrés-Gómez, Natalia Albein-Urios, Antonio Verdejo-Garcia, José C. Perales

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Abstract

Background and Aims: Gambling disorder is characterized by poor regulation of negative emotions and impulsive behaviours. This study aimed to (1) compare gambling disorder patients (GDPs) and healthy controls (HCs) in self-report and brain activation measures of emotion regulation; and (2) establish its relationship with negative emotion-driven impulsivity. Design: Two cross-sectional case-control studies including GDPs and HCs. Setting and Participants: GDPs and HCs were recruited from specialized gambling clinics in Andalusia (Spain), where they were following out-patient treatment, and from the community, respectively. Study 1 included 41 GDPs and 45 HCs [All males; Mage = 35.22, 33.22; standard deviation (SD) = 11.16, 8.18; respectively]. Study 2 included 17 GDPs and 21 HCs (16/20 males; Mage = 32.94, 31.00; SD = 7.77, 4.60; respectively). Measurements: In study 1, we compared both groups on suppression and re-appraisal emotion regulation strategies [Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)]. In study 2, we compared GDPs with HCs on brain activation associated with down-regulation of negative emotions in a cognitive re-appraisal task, measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In both studies, we correlated the measures of emotion regulation with mood-related impulsivity indicated by negative urgency (UPPS-P impulsive behaviour scale). Findings: GDPs relative to HCs showed higher levels of emotional suppression [F = 4.525; P = 0.036; means difference MHCs-MGDPs = -2.433, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -4.706, -0.159] and higher activation of the premotor cortex and middle frontal gyrus during negative emotion regulation in the fMRI task [P ≤ 0.005, cluster size (CS) > 50 voxels]. Negative urgency correlated positively with emotional suppression (r = 0.399, 95% CI = 0.104, 0.629, one-tailed P = 0.005) and middle frontal gyrus activation during negative emotion regulation (P ≤ 0.005, CS > 50) in GDPs. Conclusions: Gambling disorder is associated with greater use of emotional suppression and stronger pre-motor cortex and middle frontal gyrus activation for regulating negative emotions, compared with healthy controls. Emotional suppression use and middle frontal gyrus activation during negative emotion regulation are linked with negative emotion-driven impulsivity in this disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1094
Number of pages9
JournalAddiction
Volume112
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Cognitive re-appraisal
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional suppression
  • FMRI
  • Gambling disorder
  • Middle frontal gyrus
  • Negative urgency

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