James P. Whelan, Ph.D.

Research Professor (Clinical Health)

Psychology Building, Room 320
Office Hours
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James P. Whelan, Ph.D.


Dr. Whelan plans to admit a new doctoral student for Fall 2024 admission


  • B.A., LaSalle College
  • Ph.D., The University of Memphis

Dr. Whelan is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Institute for Gambling Education and Research (TIGER) which includes a gambling research team and several outpatient clinics across the state. Key to the institute’s work is a focus on the reciprocity between the research lab and the treatment clinic. Over the years, his team has made critical contributions to the literature on gambling disorder prevention, assessment, and treatment. The Institute has received continuous external funding since 2005. Dr. Whelan was awarded the 2022 Distinguished Research Award for the International Center for Responsible Gambling and the 2023 College of Arts & Science’s Distinguished Research Award in the Social Sciences.

Current research projects center on the following broad questions:

  • Creating and disseminating an evidence-based system of care to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.
  • Understanding the etiology of gambling problems including an individual’s awareness of a problem and motivation to seek treatment
  • Exploring an effective balance of face-to-face and technology-based interventions, including apps, social media, and web-based programs.
  • Impact of substance use on gambling behavior and problem gambling

Selected Recent Publications (* denotes a mentored student author)

  • Peter, C.S.*, Whelan, J.P., & Pfund, R.A. (2022). Text comprehension analyses to improve assessment Accuracy demonstration using gambling disorder screening. Journal of Gambling Studies 38(4), 1269-1287. doi: 10.1007/s10899-022-10110-0
  • Horn, T. L. *, Whelan, J. P., & Weil, G. T. (2022). Does acute alcohol consumption increase risk-taking while gambling? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction,117(11):2780-2790. doi: 10.1111/add.15896.
  • Horn, T. L. *, Whelan, J. P., & McPhail, A. * (2023). The influence of alcohol consumption on gambling: Do the laboratory study findings generalize to natural environments? Journal of Gambling Studies, 39(3):1175-1188. doi: 10.1007/s10899-022-10167-x.
  • Pfund, R. A., Forman, D. P.*, King, S. A.*, Zech, J. M., Ginley, M. K., Peter, S. C., McAfee, N. W., & Whelan, J. P. (2023). Effect of cognitive-behavioral techniques for problem gambling and gambling disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction, 118(9),1661-1674. doi: 10.1111/add.16221.
  • Qain, L.*, & Whelan, J.P. (2023). Behavioral addiction from the Asian Americans perspective: Exploration of public and help-seeking stigma. Journal of Gambling Studies.
  • Pfund, R. A., King, S. A., Forman, D. P., Zech, J. M., Ginley, M. K., Peter, S. C., McAfee, N. W., Witkiewitz, K., & Whelan, J. P. (2023). Effects of cognitive-behavioral techniques for gambling on recovery defined by gambling, psychological functioning, and quality of life: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 37, 936-945https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000910
  • Lipinski, D., Horn, T.L., Pfund, R.A., Whelan, J.P. (2023). Contrasting the effects of alcohol and alcohol expectancies on gambling behavior. Journal of Gambling Studies, 39(4), 1651–1660. DOI: 10.1007/s10899-023-10222-1
  • Horn, T. L.*, Lerma, M.*, Pfund, R. A., & Whelan, J. P. (2023). Expectations about how alcohol consumption influences gambling. International Gambling Studies. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2023.2224858
  • Pfund, R. A., Ginley, M. K., Kim, H. S., Boness, C. L., Horn, T. L., & Whelan, J. P. (in press). Cognitive-behavioral treatment for gambling harm: Umbrella review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review.
  • Lipinski, D. Whelan., J.P., Stiglets, B.E., Ginley, M.K., & Pfund, R.A. (in press). The influence of gambling on mood state and alcohol cravings. Journal of Gambling Studies.
  • Smith, E.H., McPhail, A., Lerma, M., Pfund, R.A., & Whelan, J.P. (in press). Expectations of how acute cannabis use affects gambling experiences and behaviors. Cannabis
  • Lerma, M., Pfund, R.A., & Whelan, J.P. (2024). Does user activity promote gambling-related content on Twitter/X? Computers in Human Learning, 185, 189207.
  • Whelan, J.P., Ginley, M.K., Pfund, R.A. (in press). We might have a sports gambling problem and it’s not what you think. Journal of Gambling Studies.