Measuring Gambling Reinforcers, Over Consumption and Fallacies: The Psychometric Properties and Predictive Validity of the Jonsson-Abbott Scale (open access)

By Jonsson, J., Abbott, M. W., Sjöberg, A., & Carlbring, P.

Abstract: Traditionally, gambling and problem gambling research relies on cross-sectional and retrospective designs. This has compromised identification of temporal relationships and causal inference. To overcome these problems a new questionnaire, the Jonsson-Abbott Scale (JAS), was developed and used in a large, prospective, general population study, The Swedish Longitudinal Gambling Study (Swelogs). The JAS has 11 items and seeks to identify early indicators, examine relationships between indicators and assess their capacity to predict future problem progression. The aims of the study were to examine psychometric properties of the JAS (internal consistency and dimensionality) and predictive validity with respect to increased gambling risk and problem gambling onset. The results are based on repeated interviews with 3818 participants. The response rate from the initial baseline wave was 74 %. The original sample consisted of a random, stratified selection from the Swedish population register aged between 16 and 84. The results indicate an acceptable fit of a three-factor solution in a confirmatory factor analysis with “Over consumption”, “Gambling fallacies” and “Reinforcers” as factors. Reinforcers, Over consumption and Gambling fallacies were significant predictors of gambling risk potential and Gambling fallacies and Over consumption were significant predictors of problem gambling onset (incident cases) at 12 month follow up. When controlled for risk potential measured at baseline, the predictor Over consumption was not significant for gambling risk potential at follow up. For incident cases, Gambling fallacies and Over consumption remained significant when controlled for risk potential. Implications of the results for the development of problem gambling, early detection, prevention and future research are discussed.

Jonsson, J., Abbott, M. W., Sjöberg, A., & Carlbring, P. (2017). Measuring Gambling Reinforcers, Over Consumption and Fallacies: The Psychometric Properties and Predictive Validity of the Jonsson-Abbott Scale. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.



Journal of Gambling Issues, No 36

The Journal of Gambling Issues has released a new issue covering a variety of topics, so rather than list them individually you can peruse the table of contents below. All JGI articles are open access.


Table of Contents

Original Article

What is the harm? Applying a public health methodology to measure the impact of gambling problems and harm on quality of life.

Matthew Browne, Vijay Rawat, Nancy Greer, Erika Langham, Matthew Rockloff, Christine Hanley

Built-in bad luck: Evidence of near-miss outcomes by design in scratch cards

Madison Stange, Dan G. Brown, Kevin Harrigan, Michael Dixon

An Analysis of Media Representation of the Australian Electronic Gaming Machine Industry

June St Clair Buchanan, Michael L. Jones, Ken Tann

Exploring the Relationship Between Body Mass Index, Obesity, and Gambling Level Across Different Gambling Types

Desmond Lam, Man Mok

Evaluation of a School-Based Gambling Prevention Program for Adolescents: Efficacy of Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour

Renée A. St-Pierre, Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Caroline E. Temcheff, Rina Gupta, Alexa Martin-Story

The Social Construction of the Pathological Gambler’s Identity and Its Relationship With Social Adaptation: Narratives From Members of Italian Gambling Anonymous and Gam-Anon Family Groups

Claudia Venuleo, Tiziana Marinaci

Win or Lose: Negotiating meaning of time and money within three gambling settings

Chantal Robillard, Sylvia Kairouz, Eva Monson

On the Feasibility of In-Venue Observations of Electronic Gaming Machine Gamblers and Game Characteristics

Jason Landon, Katie Palmer du Preez, Maria Bellringer, Max Abbott, Amanda Roberts

Closing a Treatment Gap in Ontario: Pilot of a Tutorial Workbook for Women Gamblers

Roberta Boughton, Farah Jindani, Nigel E. Turner

Literature Review

Internet Gambling: A Critical Review of Behavioural Tracking Research

Bernardo T. Chagas, Jorge F. S. Gomes

Effects of a workplace prevention programme for problem gambling: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial (full text)

By Rafi, J., Ivanova, E., Rozental, A., & Carlbring, P.

Abstract: Introduction Despite being considered a public health problem, no prevention programme for problem gambling in workplace settings has been scientifically evaluated. This study aims to fill a critical gap in the field of problem gambling by implementing and evaluating a large-scale prevention programme in organisations.
Methods and analysis Ten organisations, with a total of n=549 managers and n=8572 employees, will be randomised to either receiving a prevention programme or to a waitlist control condition. Measurements will be collected at the baseline and 3, 12 and 24 months after intervention. The primary outcome of interest is the managers’ inclination to act when worried or suspicious about an employee’s problem gambling or other harmful use. Additional outcomes of interest include the Problem Gambling Severity Index and gambling habits in both managers and employees. Furthermore, qualitative analyses of the responses from semistructured interviews with managers will be performed.
Ethics and dissemination This study has been approved by the regional ethics board of Stockholm, Sweden, and it will contribute to the body of knowledge concerning prevention of problem gambling. The findings will be published in peer-reviewed, open-access journals.

Rafi, J., Ivanova, E., Rozental, A., & Carlbring, P. (2017). Effects of a workplace prevention programme for problem gambling: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 7(9), e015963.


Problem Gambling and Family Violence in Help-Seeking Populations: Co-occurrence, Impact and Coping (full text)

By Maria Bellringer, Katie Palmer du Preez, Janet Pearson, Nick Garrett, Jane Koziol-McLain, Denise Wilson, Max Abbott.

Four hundred and fifty-four clients of problem gambling treatment services took part in a short survey on gambling and family/whānau violence and abuse. There were 370 gamblers and 84 affected others (e.g. partners, other family members and friends). The survey took place from June 2013 to March 2015.

The purpose of the research was to identify the level of family/whānau violence and abuse in people seeking help for problem gambling, and to increase our understanding of these issues. A wide definition of family/whānau violence was used, which included physical violence and coercive control (most often thought of as violence), as well as psychological and emotional abuse (more often thought of as conflict), and sexual abuse.

Summary continues here

Bellringer, Maria, Katie Palmer du Preez, Janet Pearson, Nick Garrett, Jane Koziol-McLain, Denise Wilson, and Max Abbott. “Problem Gambling and Family Violence in Help-Seeking Populations: Co-Occurrence, Impact and Coping.” Wellington: Ministry of Health, November 4, 2016.

Examining the impact of e-mental health in problem gambling – full-text PDF

Simone Rodda, Dan Lubman, Nicki Dowling. 

This study examined people’s experiences of e-mental health options at Gambling Help Online. It looked at chat and email counselling services, forums, website information and self-help tools. It also piloted and evaluated a text messaging relapse prevention program.

The researchers surveyed 277 participants recruited through Gambling Help Online about their experiences directly after using a service (baseline) and then four and 12 weeks later.

Highlights include:

  • Online services can be effective in reducing gambling symptom severity – at baseline, almost half of participants reported severe gambling symptoms, compared with only one-fifth 12 weeks later.
  • There were better outcomes for participants using more intensive (chat or email-based) services, compared with those using website information or self-help materials.
  • At 12 weeks, only 6.5 per cent of participants had not engaged with a service or attempted self-directed change following contact with Gambling Help Online.
  • The most frequent actions taken after accessing Gambling Help Online were self-directed (93 per cent) and included reading information on the website, talking to family and friends, and attempting a self-help strategy such as limiting access to cash.
  • Providing tips and offers of help via text messages did not change gambling symptom severity, frequency of gambling or money spent gambling.
  • Users of Gambling Help Online services were more likely to be young and male than users of Gambler’s Help services.

This study helps us better understand the needs of online service users and tailor service responses accordingly. In addition, it provides tentative support for using text messaging as a post-care program. Future work might also investigate offering more intensive options online, such as video conferencing.

Attitudes towards gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related harm: cross-sectional Finnish population studies in 2011 and 2015 – open access

Anne H. Salonen, Hannu Alho, Sari Castrén.


Information about public gambling attitudes and gambling participation is crucial for the effective prevention of gambling-related harm. This study investigates female and male attitudes towards gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related harm in the Finnish population aged 15–74.


Cross-sectional random sample data were collected in 2011 (n = 4484) and 2015 (n = 4515). The data were weighted based on gender, age and region of residence. Attitudes were measured using the Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale (ATGS-8). Gambling-related harms were studied using the Problem Gambling Severity Index and the South Oaks Gambling Screen.


Attitudes towards gambling became more positive from 2011 to 2015. Female attitudes were generally negative, but nonetheless moved in a positive direction except in age groups under 25. Occasional gambling increased among women aged 18–24. Women aged 18–24 and 45–54 experienced more harms in 2015 than in 2011. Both land and online gambling increased among women aged 65–74. Male attitudes towards gambling were generally positive, and became more positive from 2011 to 2015 in all age groups except 15–17. Weekly gambling decreased among males aged 15–17. Gambling overall increased among males aged 18–24. Gambling several times a week decreased among men aged 35–44 and 45–54, and gambling 1–3 times a month increased in the latter age group. Online gambling increased only among men aged 55–64.


Attitudes towards gambling became more positive in all except the youngest age groups. Under-age male gambling continued to decrease. We need to make decision-makers better aware of the continuing growth of online gambling among older people and women’s increasing experiences of gambling-related harm. This is vital to ensure more effective prevention.