The Mediating Roles of Self-compassion and Emotion Regulation in the Relationship among Alexithymia, Gambling Frequency, Risky Decision-Making, and Gambling Severity in Online Gamblers

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Behavioral Sciences and Mental Health, Tehran Institute of Psychiatry, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Behavioral Sciences, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Health Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



Background: The research literature about the relationship between alexithymia, risky decision-making, and gambling severity has 
been contradictory and limited. Besides, there is no study on the mediating roles of self-compassion and emotion regulation in 
online gambling. Moreover, the role of these mediators in gambling frequency has not been studied. Thus, the present study aimed 
to investigate the relationship between alexithymia, risky decision-making, and gambling frequency by considering the mediating 
role of self-compassion and emotion regulation in online gamblers. 

Methods: A total of 319 Iranians who gambled online at least once a week in the past three months were investigated using 
an online survey including Farsi Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (FTAS-20), Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), and 
Gambling Disorder Screening Questionnaire-Persian (GDSQ-P). Statistical analyses were conducted by SPSS 26.0 for Windows. 
The relationships between the variables were analyzed using correlation analysis. In cases where significant relationships were 
observed, the hypotheses of the regression model were tested.

Findings: The mean age of the participants was 24.6±6.06 and 253 participants (73.9%) were male. Furthermore, no significant 
differences were observed between men and women in terms of risky decision-making (P=0.051), gambling severity (P=0.59), 
and age (P=0.293).

Conclusion: Alexithymia had both a direct and indirect relationship with gambling severity through the mediating roles of emotion 
regulation and self-compassion. Moreover, alexithymia was significantly associated with risky decision-making and gambling 
frequency, through the mediating role of difficulties in emotion regulation, both directly and indirectly.


Fatemeh Moheban: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Mohammadreza Davoudi: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Sepideh Tamrchi: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)