Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 55 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Edelgard Wulfert

Committee Members

Mitch Earleywine, Robert Rosellini


gambling, harm minimization, warning messages, Gambling, Risk-taking (Psychology), Compulsive gamblers

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


The present study examined a fundamental assumption of a cognitive model of gambling: that gambling-related irrational beliefs are directly associated with risky gambling behavior. A total of 80 high-frequency gamblers played a chance-based computer game with play money. While playing this game, a pop-up screen repeatedly displayed one of four types of messages (accurate, inaccurate, neutral or none). Consistent with a cognitive model of gambling, accurate messages decreased risky gambling behavior compared to the other three message conditions. Contrary to predictions, however, inaccurate messages did not lead to more risky gambling behavior, nor was the hypothesis that participants in the neutral and no-message condition would display less risky gambling than participants in the inaccurate message condition but riskier behavior than participants in the accurate message condition. Exploratory analyses supported the imporatnt role of cognitive components in explanining problem gambling behavior. Together, the results suggest that harm minimization strategies that focus on helping individuals maintain a rational perspective while gambling may protect them from unreasonable risk-taking.