Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1579–1595 | Cite as

An Expert Map of Gambling Risk Perception

  • Michael Spurrier
  • Alexander Blaszczynski
  • Paul Rhodes
Original Paper


The purpose of the current study was to investigate the moderating or mediating role played by risk perception in decision-making, gambling behaviour, and disordered gambling aetiology. Eleven gambling expert clinicians and researchers completed a semi-structured interview derived from mental models and grounded theory methodologies. Expert interview data was used to construct a comprehensive expert mental model ‘map’ detailing risk-perception related factors contributing to harmful or safe gambling. Systematic overlapping processes of data gathering and analysis were used to iteratively extend, saturate, test for exception, and verify concepts and emergent themes. Findings indicated that experts considered idiosyncratic beliefs among gamblers result in overall underestimates of risk and loss, insufficient prioritization of needs, and planning and implementation of risk management strategies. Additional contextual factors influencing use of risk information (reinforcement and learning; mental states, environmental cues, ambivalence; and socio-cultural and biological variables) acted to shape risk perceptions and increase vulnerabilities to harm or disordered gambling. It was concluded that understanding the nature, extent and processes by which risk perception predisposes an individual to maintain gambling despite adverse consequences can guide the content of preventative educational responsible gambling campaigns.


Gambling Pathological gambling Harm Risk perception Cognition Decision making Qualitative Grounded theory Mental models 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Spurrier
    • 1
  • Alexander Blaszczynski
    • 1
  • Paul Rhodes
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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