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, 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 of 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.