Gambling fallacies: what are they and how are they best measured?

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Leonard, Carrie A.
Williams, Robert J.
Vokey, John
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OMICS Publishing Group
Objective: Gambling fallacies are believed to be etiologically related to the development of problem gambling. However, this evidence is tenuous due to the lack of consensus on which things constitute gambling fallacies and the adequacy of instruments that ostensibly measure them. The purpose of this paper is to comprehensively identify the main gambling fallacies and examine the reliability and validity of the instruments designed to measure them. Methods: All known gambling fallacies and instruments measuring them were identified via a keyword search of social science, medical, and gambling-specific databases. The reliability and validity of each assessment instrument was then examined. Results: Six primary gambling fallacies were consistently reported in the literature. Eighteen instruments were found to measure one or more of these fallacies, with 9 assessing specific fallacies and 9 intended to be comprehensive instruments. Most instruments were found to have good internal consistency as well as adequate convergent and external validity. Relatively few demonstrated test-retest reliability and/or discriminant validity. However, the main area of concern was content validity. While instruments focusing on a particular fallacy tended to have adequate content validity, this was not true of the comprehensive instruments. In addition to insufficient coverage of the fallacies, most comprehensive instruments included questions pertaining to motivations for gambling, attitudes about gambling, and/or problem gambling symptomatology (e.g. chasing losses), which likely inflates their statistical association with problem gambling. Many of these comprehensive instruments also wrongly assume that no skill is involved in any form of gambling. Conclusion: The inadequate content validity of most comprehensive gambling fallacy instruments draws into question the strong etiological relationship gambling fallacies are presumed to have with problem gambling. This concern is compounded by the fact that all research reporting this association has been cross-sectional and correlational in nature. Re-examination of this relationship using improved instrumentation in a longitudinal context is required.
Sherpa Romeo blue journal. Open access article. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) applies.
Gambling fallacy , Cognitive error , Cognitive bias , Distortion , Superstition , Illusion of control , Compulsive gambling
Leonard, C. A., Williams, R. J., & Vokey, J. (2015). Gambling fallacies: what are they and how are they best measured? Journal of Research Therapy and Addiction, 6(4), 256. doi:10.4172/2155-6015.1000256