Over 15 years ago Drs. James Whelan and Andrew Meyers began an academic collaboration on the assessment and treatment of gambling behavior. Under the umbrella label of the Institute of Gambling Education and Research, they established two divisions.
One division is the Gambling Clinic, where they treat individuals with gambling disorders, train professionals and doctoral students, and educate consumers, as well as develop tools to measure and intervene with excessive gambling behavior. Their work with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services led to what has become an $180,000 per year grant to fulfill the mission of the clinic.
The second division is the Gambling Lab—a productive research laboratory where they transform their Gambling Clinic experiences into empirical questions about both risk factors and protective factors related to disordered gambling. With doctoral student collaborators, they have developed a number of gambling-related assessment tools that are being used in both research and clinical settings around the world. A number of other projects have addressed issues such as warning labels, adolescent gambling, and college student gambling.
A growing interest in impulsivity as a biogenetic risk factor has proven important for understanding the interaction between biological and social factors that create a pathway to gambling problems. The current proposal represents a key step in this exploration and will lead to increased understanding of the role of impulsivity dimensions in risky gambling behavior.