• Pathological gambling behavior and self-concept theory: An investigation of the validity of the addictive personality syndrome (APS)

      Hudak, Clark Joseph, Jr.; Varghese, Raju (1992)
      This study investigated the relationship between the self-concept and the Addictive Personality Syndrome (APS) among a sample of pathological gamblers. Seventy-five respondents met the sampling criteria and were drawn from various Gamblers Anonymous chapters in the Baltimore/Washington/Northern Virginia metropolitan areas, and two professional treatment programs--the National Center for Pathological Gambling and the Washington Center for Pathological Gambling. Self-esteem and self-concept stability were predicted to be causally related to the dependent variable dissociation. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the New York State Stability of Self Scale, and the Jacobs Dissociation Scale were used to measure self-esteem, self-concept stability, and dissociation respectively. Data were also collected for sociodemographic variables and those for family and gambling backgrounds. The measuring instrument consisted of a 45-item questionnaire which was self-administered in about thirty minutes. The findings lend support to four of the five research hypotheses. Using ordinary least squares linear regressions, statistical analyses tentatively revealed a negative causal relationship between dissociation and self-concept stability. Contrary to prediction was that self-esteem was not found related to dissociation. A leptokurtic univariate distribution skewed toward low self-esteem appeared to account for this latter finding. As predicted, self-esteem and self-concept stability were found unrelated. Further comparative analyses revealed higher levels of self-concept stability among dissociators than non-dissociators. There were no differences between these groups on self-esteem scores. In a follow-up survey of a subset of the study's sample self-concept principles were further explicated. Thus hypotheses four and five were tentatively supported which predicted manifestations of the desired and presenting selves during gambling activity. The findings support the notion that self-concept principles can better explain components of the Addictive Personality Syndrome, and relevance of the tested variables have implications for social work theory, practice, education, and research.