Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (2009), 37:49-59 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2008

Research Article

Consequences of Winning: The Role of Gambling Outcomes in the Development of Irrational Beliefs

Sally Monaghana1 c1, Alex Blaszczynskia1 and Lia Nowera2

a1 University of Sydney, Australia
a2 Rutgers University, USA
Article author query
monaghan s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
blaszczynski a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
nower l [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Background: The development and maintenance of gambling and problem gambling with its corresponding irrational beliefs may be fundamentally linked to patterns of wins and losses during electronic gaming machine (EGM) play. Method: The current study investigated the extent to which irrational thoughts and erroneous perceptions of chance differed based on individual wins or losses. Undergraduate students (n = 45) completed questionnaires assessing irrational beliefs and perceptions of chance prior to and following EGM play with credits rather than money. Results: It was found that players who lost reported a significantly greater decrease in irrational thoughts and erroneous perceptions of chance and significantly fewer superstitious beliefs than winning players following play. Conclusions: Future studies are needed to further investigate the relationship of winning to cognitive distortions to guide education and interventions.

Keywords:Gambling; irrational beliefs; electronic gaming machines; winning; youth


c1 Reprint requests to Sally Monaghan, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Brennan MacCallum Building (A18), Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia. E-mail: