Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 561–569 | Cite as

Differences in Cognitive Distortions Between Pathological and Non-Pathological Gamblers with Preferences for Chance or Skill Games

  • Helga Myrseth
  • Geir Scott Brunborg
  • Magnus Eidem
Original Paper


Cognitive distortions have been thought to play an important role in the development and maintenance of pathological gambling. The present study investigated whether severity of gambling problems and gamblers’ preference for chance or skill games were related to two sub-factors of cognitive distortions as measured by the Gamblers Belief Questionnaire: Luck/Perseverance, which reflects an individual’s perception that chance is favorable to him/her, and Illusion of Control, which reflects an individual’s perception that his/her behavior influences chance occurrences. Participants (N = 166) were recruited from a race track (n = 79), off-course betting facilities (n = 50) and from an online treatment program for problem gamblers (n = 49). Gambling severity was measured by the South Oaks Gambling Screen, and 73 were classified as pathological gamblers whereas 93 were classified as non-pathological gamblers. The present study supports previous proposals that cognitive distortions are core processes related to gambling behavior as pathological gamblers reported more cognitive distortions than did non-pathological gamblers. A preference for skill games was also associated with greater Illusion of Control compared to a preference for chance games. For gamblers preferring skill games there were no differences in Luck/Perseverance or Illusion of Control between pathological and non-pathological gamblers.


Gamblers Belief Questionnaire Pathological gambling Cognitive distortions Gambling preference Skill games Chance games 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helga Myrseth
    • 1
  • Geir Scott Brunborg
    • 1
  • Magnus Eidem
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychosocial ScienceUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Substance Abuse and AddictionInnlandet Hospital TrustBrumunddalNorway

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