Decision-Making Styles, Negative Affectivity, and Cognitive Distortions in Adolescent Gambling

  • Marina Cosenza
  • Maria Ciccarelli
  • Giovanna Nigro
Original Paper


Evidences from the extant literature suggest that problem gamblers show higher cognitive distortions and reported experiencing higher levels of negative affective states than recreational gamblers. Furthermore, several studies reported that the more the gambling severity, the poorer the performance in behavioral tasks assessing affective decision-making. Although gambling research on decision-making has mostly focused on the functional or dysfunctional outcomes of the decisional process, no study examined the role of decision-making styles in gambling disorder. This study aimed to first investigate the interplay among negative affectivity, cognitive distortions, and decision-making styles in adolescent problem gambling. Four hundred and twenty-five adolescents, aged between 14 and 19 years, completed the South Oaks Gambling Screen Revised for Adolescents to assess problem gambling, the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales-21 to measure negative affective states, and the Gambling Related Cognitions Scale as a measure of cognitive distortions about gambling, and the General Decision-Making Style tapping habitual patterns which individuals use in decision-making. Data were submitted to correlational analysis, univariate and mixed-model ANOVAs, and hierarchical regression analysis. Regression analysis indicated that, along with gender, interpretative bias and inability to stop gambling, depression, and spontaneous decision-making style significantly predicted gambling severity. These results extend further previous studies on the role of misconceptions about gambling, and negative affective states in adolescent gambling, and, interestingly, first demonstrate that also maladaptive decision-making styles may represent a risk factor for gambling disorder.


Gambling Gambling disorder Adolescent gambling Negative affectivity Cognitive distortions Decision-making styles 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversità degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”CasertaItaly

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