This study aimed to examine psychological mechanisms underlying work stress and burnout that may increase the risk of problem gambling. A serial multiple mediation model is proposed to specify that work stress (high job demand-low job control) can deplete employee resources and lead to burnout. Employees who have emotion dysregulation may engage in gambling to escape or avoid burnout and negative emotions at work. Over time, these employees may become increasingly rely on gambling to cope with their burnout experience, leading to problem gambling. A total of 1233 full-time employees in the United States completed a web survey on work stress. Results supported the proposed serial multiple mediation model. The indirect effect of work stress on problem gambling first through burnout then through emotion dysregulation was significant. The direct effect of work stress on problem gambling was reduced to nonsignificance after controlling for the two mediators (burnout and emotion dysregulation). When the two mediators were considered together in the specified sequence, the indirect effects of work stress on problem gambling through individual mediators were also reduced to nonsignificance. Gender was a nonsignificant moderator, and pathways of the proposed serial multiple mediation model were similar for men and women. Supplementary analyses did not support an alternate sequence of mediators. The present findings suggest that prevention and treatment programs for work stress, burnout, and problem gambling should include the assessment and enhancement of emotion regulation skills.
Bibliographical noteAll procedures performed in this study involving human participants were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethics Review Committee of the National University of Singapore, Singapore.
- Gambling and emotion dysregulation
- Gambling and work stress
- Gambling and burnout