Struggling with Happiness: A Pathway Leading Depression to Gambling Disorder

  • Guyonne Rogier
  • Giancarlo Picci
  • Patrizia VelottiEmail author
Original Paper


A number of studies have suggested that depressive mood might lead to the development and/or maintenance of a gambling disorder (GD). The pathways by which such relationships are fostered may involve deficits in emotional regulation capacity and dysfunctional coping styles. This study aims to explore the role played by depressive symptomatology and the regulation of positive emotion in GD. We administered the South Oaks Gambling Inventory (SOGS, Lesieur and Blume in Am J Psychiatry 144(9):1184–1188, 1987), the 21-item Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21, Lovibond and Lovibond in Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Psychology Foundation, Sydney, 1995) and the Kill-joy Thinking subscale of the Ways of Savouring Checklist (WOSC, Bryant and Veroff in Savoring: a new model of positive experience. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, 2007) to a sample of pathological gamblers (n = 91) and a sample of community participants (n = 105). The pathological gamblers scored higher on the DASS-21 subscales and obtained higher scores on the Kill-joy Thinking subscale of the WOSC compared to the controls. Moreover, the SOGS scores positively correlate with the DASS-21 subscales, and with the Kill-Joy Thinking measure. Finally, it is evident that Kill-joy Thinking fully mediates the relationship between depressive symptomatology and GD severity. Our results further confirm the roles of depression, anxiety and stress in GD. Moreover, this is the first study to explore the mediating role of dampening processes in the relationship between depression and GD. Future lines of research are also discussed.


Gambling disorder Depression Anxiety Emotion regulation Savoring Dampening 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational SciencesUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Dynamic and Clinical PsychologyUniversity of RomeSapienzaItaly

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