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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Compulsive gamblers-Psychology, College students-Psychology, Guilt, Gambling, College students, Alcohol, Cannabis, College students-Alcohol use, College students-Drug use, Cigarette smokers-Psychology, Marijuana abuse-Psychological aspects


This project examined the relationship between guilt and pathological gambling among collect students. In total, 1,979 college students between 18 and 25 years of age were recruited from three campuses. Each completed a questionnaire that contained the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), the Interpersonal Guilt Questionnaire (IGQ-67), and questions related to substance use. Participants who had a SOGS score of 5 or higher were classified as pathological gamblers (n=145). Each pathological gambler was matched to a participant who had SOGS score of 2 or less and also matched the pathological gambler according to the following variables: campus, gender, racial identity, income, GPA, cigarette use, alcohol use, cannabis use and "other" drug use. Anaylsis found that the pathological gamblers had significantly higher levels of guilt than the non-pathological gamblers on the full IGQ-67 scale and on three of the four IGQ-67 subscales: Separation Guilt, Omnipotent Responsibility Guilt, and Self-Hate Guilt, (all p's <0.01). These data support the hypothesis that pathological gambling college students may have excessive guilt. If these results are replicated in treatment-seeking pathological gamblers they may suggest novel approaches toward treatment. Challenging excessive thoughts and feelings related to the concern and responsibility for others may help gamblers recover. Secondary analyses found significant associations between alcohol, cigarette, and canabis use and guilt. Although alcohol and nicotine use were positively associated with guilt, cannabis use was unexpectedly inversely related to guilt. College students who have alcohol and nicotine (cigarette) use disorders may benefit from coping strategies to disconfirm guilt-related thoughts and emotions related to excessive concern and responsibility for other people. Further research is recommended to understand the relationship between cannabis use and guilt.




iv, 115 p. Dissertation (Ph.D.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 97-107)