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Abstract

Background and aims

Harmful gambling has been associated with the endorsement of fallacious cognitions that promote excessive consumption. These types of beliefs stem from intuitively derived assumptions about gambling that are fostered by fast-thinking and a lack of objective, critical thought. The current paper details an experiment designed to test whether a four-week online intervention to strengthen contextual analytical thinking in gamblers is effective in changing gamblers cognitions and encouraging safer gambling consumption.

Methods

Ninety-four regular gamblers who reported experiencing gambling-related harm were randomly allocated to either an experimental (n = 46) or control condition (n = 48), including 45 males, ranging from 19 to 65 years of age (M = 36.61; SD = 9.76). Following baseline measurement of gambling beliefs and prior week gambling consumption, participants in the experimental condition were required to complete an adaption of the Gamblers Fallacy Questionnaire designed to promote analytical thinking by educating participants on common judgement errors specific to gambling once a week for four weeks. Post-intervention measures of beliefs and gambling consumption were captured in week five.

Results

The experimental condition reported significantly fewer erroneous cognitions, greater endorsement of protective cognitions, and reduced time spent gambling post-intervention compared to baseline. The control group also reported a reduction in cognitions relating to predicting and controlling gambling outcomes.

Conclusion

Cognitive interventions that encourage gamblers to challenge gambling beliefs by reflecting on gambling involvement and promoting critical thinking may be an effective tool for reducing the time people invest in gambling activities.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Matthew Rockloff
,
Matthew Browne
,
Alex M T Russell
,
Nerilee Hing
,
Tess Armstrong
, and
Nancy Greer

Abstract

Background and aims

Legacy gambling harms are negative consequences of gambling that extend past periods of low risk, moderate risk and problem gambling. Gambling harm is typically measured within a 12-month timeframe and is often restricted to examining harm amongst active gamblers. The present research aimed to explore whether people experienced gambling harms 12 months or more after the resolution of at-risk or problem gambling, and how long these legacy harms lasted.

Methods

An online survey was conducted in New Zealand with past and current gamblers and concerned significant others (CSOs) of gamblers, N = 1,240 (50.8% female), that asked them about both past and current gambling harms.

Results

A majority of both gamblers and CSOs of gamblers indicated that they still suffered from gambling harm even after most of their behavioural issues with gambling had been resolved, 12+ months ago. Legacy gambling harms reduced over time, with harms diminishing most quickly in the early years, and having an average half-life of 4 years. Harms involving community-relationships, church involvement, and domestic and other violence resolved more quickly than others.

Discussion and conclusions

Legacy harms are common among ex-problem gamblers and should be considered in any full accounting of the impacts of gambling.

Conclusion

Understanding the time course and persistence of legacy harms from gambling can provide gamblers, treatment professionals and public health experts with insights into how to address gambling's long-term consequences.

Open access