Gambling-related cognitive distortions mediate the relationship between depression and disordered gambling severity [subscription access article]

Abstract: Background and objectives
Symptoms of depression are highly prevalent among individuals with gambling disorder, and severity of depression is associated with severity of gambling problem. Yet, little is known about the psychological mechanisms by which symptoms of depression lead to greater gambling severity. In this study, we tested whether cognitive distortions represent one such mechanism, as cognitive distortions are key characteristics in both depression and gambling disorder and have been shown to be associated with gambling severity.

Highlights
• Depression symptoms predict cognitive distortions and gambling severity
• Controlling for depression, cognitive distortions predict greater gambling severity
• Cognitive distortions mediate the effect of depression on gambling severity

Article details and access conditions

Magdalen G. Schluter, Hyoun S. Kim, Julia C. Poole, David C. Hodgins, Daniel S. McGrath, Keith S. Dobson, Hermano Taveres. (2019). Gambling-related cognitive distortions mediate the relationship between depression and disordered gambling severity. Addictive Behaviors, 90, 318-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.038.

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Psychological Vulnerability and Problem Gambling: The Mediational Role of Cognitive Distortions

By Lévesque, D., Sévigny, S., Giroux, I., & Jacques, C.

Abstract: Despite numerous studies demonstrating the influence of cognitive distortions on gambling problem severity, empirical data regarding the role of psychological vulnerability on the latter is limited. Hence, this study assesses the mediating effect of cognitive distortions between psychological vulnerability (personality and mood), and gambling problem severity. It also verifies whether the relationships between these variables differs according to the preferred gambling activity. The sample is composed of 272 male gamblers [191 poker players; 81 video lottery terminal (VLT) players] aged between 18 and 82 years (M = 35.2). Bootstrap analysis results revealed that cognitive distortions mediate the effect of narcissism on gambling problem severity for both groups. The level of depression for VLT players significantly predicted gambling problem severity, both directly and indirectly via the mediating effect of cognitive distortions. Mediation analyses also indicated that narcissism had an indirect impact on problem gambling through cognitive distortions for both groups. These findings suggest that certain vulnerabilities related to personality and mood may influence cognitive distortion intensity and gambling problem severity. In addition, psychological vulnerabilities could differ based on preferred gambling activity. These results may be useful for prevention policies, identifying high risk gamblers and planning psychological interventions.

Lévesque, D., Sévigny, S., Giroux, I., & Jacques, C. (2018). Psychological Vulnerability and Problem Gambling: The Mediational Role of Cognitive Distortions. Journal of Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9740-0