Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 253–266 | Cite as

Cognitive Distortions in Heavy Gambling

  • Tony Toneatto
  • Tamara Blitz-Miller
  • Kim Calderwood
  • Rosa Dragonetti
  • Andrea Tsanos


A sample of 38 regular and heavy gamblers, recruited through advertisements and not seeking treatment, were asked to describe special strategies, techniques or rituals that they used to increase their chances of winning at gambling in an open-ended interview. The mean South Oaks Gambling Screen Score for the sample was 7.7 with 64% of the sample scoring higher than 4. Their responses reflected multiple means by which the individual believed they were able to control (i.e., active illusory control, passive illusory control), reframe (i.e., interpretive control), or predict (i.e., probability control, predictive control) gambling outcomes. A larger number of cognitive distortions was associated with playing games in which skill was potentially a component (e.g., cards, sports) than in non-skill games (e.g., lotteries) as well as a positive family history of gambling. There were no sex differences. Implications of these findings for the cognitive psychopathology of gambling are discussed.


Family History Positive Family History Special Strategy Probability Control Cognitive Distortion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Toneatto
    • 1
    • 1
  • Tamara Blitz-Miller
    • 1
  • Kim Calderwood
    • 1
  • Rosa Dragonetti
    • 1
  • Andrea Tsanos
    • 1
  1. 1.Addiction Research FoundationTorontoCanada

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