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J Gambl Stud. 2018 Sep;34(3):807-822. doi: 10.1007/s10899-017-9740-0.

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

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École de psychologie, Université Laval, 2325 rue des Bibliothèques, PAV-FAS, Quebec City, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada.
Département des fondements et pratiques en éducation, Université Laval, 2320, rue des Bibliothèques, PAV-Sciences de ľéducation, Quebec City, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada.
École de psychologie, Université Laval, 2325 rue des Bibliothèques, PAV-FAS, Quebec City, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada.


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.


Cognitive distortion; Mediation; Mood; Personality; Poker; Problem gambling; Video lottery terminals

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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