Gambling symptoms, behaviors, and cognitive distortions in Japanese university students

Kengo Yokomitsu*, Takanobu Sakai, Tomonari Irie, Jun Tayama, Hirokazu Furukawa, Mika Himachi, Junichiro Kanazawa, Munenaga Koda, Yoshihiko Kunisato, Hirofumi Matsuoka, Takuhiro Takada, Fumito Takahashi, Takahito Takahashi, Kaori Osawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study was conducted to investigate the relationship between symptoms of gambling problems, gambling behaviours, and cognitive distortions among a university student population in Japan ages 20 to 29 years. We aimed to address the gap in knowledge of gambling disorders and treatment for this population. Methods: Data were obtained from 1471 Japanese undergraduate students from 19 universities in Japan. Descriptive statistics and hierarchical multivariate regression analysis were used to investigate whether the factors of gambling cognitive distortions would have predictive effects on gambling disorder symptoms. Results: Results indicated that 5.1% of the participants are classifiable as probable disordered gamblers. The bias of the gambling type to pachinko and pachislot was unique to gamblers in Japan. Of the students sampled, 342 self-reported gambling symptoms via the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Hierarchical multivariate regression analysis indicated that one domain of gambling cognitive distortions was associated significantly with gambling symptoms among the 342 symptomatic participants: gambling expectancy (β = 0.19, p <.05). The multivariate model explained 47% of the variance in the gambling symptoms. Conclusion: This study successfully contributed to the sparse research on university student gambling in Japan. Specifically, our results indicated a statistically significant relationship between gambling cognitive distortions and gambling disorder symptoms. These results can inform the development of preventive education and treatment for university students with gambling disorder in Japan. The report also describes needs for future research of university students with gambling disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 13


  • Cognitive distortion
  • Gambling
  • Japan
  • University students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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