Profiling Metacognition in Gambling Disorder

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2015 Sep;43(5):614-22. doi: 10.1017/S1352465814000101.


Background: Preliminary research has indicated that general facets of metacognition are associated with problem gambling. In the present study we aimed to investigate whether specific facets of metacognition play a role in explaining gambling initiation and perseveration in individuals presenting with gambling disorder.

Aim: To investigate: (1) the presence of metacognitive beliefs about gambling; (2) the goal of gambling, and its start and stop signals; and (3) the perceived impact of gambling on self-consciousness.

Method: Ten individuals with a diagnosis of gambling disorder were assessed using metacognitive profiling, a semi-structured interview.

Results: Findings indicated that all participants endorsed both positive and negative metacognitive beliefs about gambling. The primary goal of gambling was to relieve economic hardship and improve cognitive-emotional state. All participants reported that they did not know when this goal was achieved. Start signals for gambling included the ideas and feelings that gambling could solve problems and sensations that it might be the right time to win. The stop signal for gambling, for all participants, was running out of money. All participants also reported a perceived reduction in self-consciousness during a gambling episode.

Conclusions: These findings provide preliminary evidence that specific facets of metacognition play a role in gambling disorder.

Keywords: Addictive behaviours; gambling; gambling disorder; metacognition; metacognitive beliefs; problem gambling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition*
  • Gambling / classification
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Metacognition
  • Middle Aged