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How Do Erroneous Thoughts About Gambling Relate to 'At Risk' and Problem Gambling?


This study investigated how erroneous thoughts about gambling (irrational cognitions) and risky gambling practices were related to the risk of problem gambling. Irrational cognitions about gambling include:

  1. Thinking that if you lose many times in a row you are more likely to win on a subsequent try.
  2. Thinking that you are more likely to win if you use a certain system or strategy to gamble.

These are irrational because gambling outcomes are random and cannot be determined by the 'skill' of a gambler.

Risky gambling practices were defined as behaviors, other than the spending of money, which include: borrowing money to gamble, chasing losses, and betting more than one can afford to lose.

We found that the combination of both irrational cognitions and risky practices were related to an increased risk of problem gambling. It may be that irrational cognitions and risky practices perpetuate one another. For example, a gambler could be compelled to borrow money to gamble if they believed a win was imminent.


For information about irrational gambling cognitions can be found at:
www.responsiblegamblingns.ca/information.php . A quiz about irrational gambling cognitions can also be found there.

Miller, N.V. & Currie, S.R. (2008). A Canadian population level analysis of the roles of irrational gambling cognitions and risky gambling practices as correlates of gambling intensity and pathological gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 24, 257-274. [Full article can be obtained from http://www.springer.com/medicine/psychiatry/journal/10899 ]

Abstract: Using population data (N=11,562) drawn from five Canadian gambling prevalence surveys conducted between 2000 and 2005, the current study investigated the relationship between irrational gambling cognitions and risky gambling practices upon a) gambling intensity, as measured by percent of income spent on gambling and b) tolerance, a diagnostic indicator of pathological gambling. First, we found irrational gambling cognitions and risky gambling practices to be positively related. Second, irrational gambling cognitions moderated the relationship between risky gambling practices and gambling intensity. Specifically, people engaging in risky practices, spent less of their income on gambling when they had fewer irrational gambling cognitions compared to those with more irrational cognitions. Third, irrational gambling cognitions moderated the relationship between risky gambling practices and tolerance. Of the people engaging in risky practices, those with no irrational cognitions reported lower levels of tolerance than those with at least one irrational cognition. Interactions with gender are reported and discussed. These findings demonstrate the importance of both gambling cognitions and gambling practices upon the intensity of gambling and pathological gambling. (The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com )

Miller, N.V., & Currie, S.R. (2008, November). The role of gender and irrational gambling cognitions in prediciting gambling intensity. Poster presented at University of Calgary 2nd Annual Student's Union Undergraduate Research Symposium, Calgary, AB.

Click here for poster

Miller, N.V., & Currie, S.R. (2008, November). The roles of gambling cognitions and gambling practices in predicting gambling intensity and risk of developing pathological gambling. Oral presentation at Alberta Mental Health Board's Mental Health Research Showcase, Banff, AB.

 

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