The relationship between expectancies, choice and gambling behaviour

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The aim of the current series of studies was to examine the efficacy of gambling motivations, assessed in terms of gambling related beliefs (e.g., gambling outcome expectancies, normative beliefs, and cognitive biases), in predicting and explaining gambling behaviour. To achieve this, a 3-wave longitudinal community-based survey was employed. In the first study (n = 2,033), the role of economic, emotion, and social gambling outcome expectancies in gambling behaviour were examined. The findings revealed the economic, emotion, and social aspects uniquely predicted gambling frequency, whereas only the emotion oriented dimensions of gambling outcome expectancies (excitement, escape, and ego enhancement) were related to gambling problems. These findings were further examined in Wave 2 (n = 870) by testing the comparative predictive ability of gambling outcome expectancies, normative beliefs, and cognitive biases using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB, Ajzen & Madden, 1985). In general, the results supported the efficacy of the TPB with normative beliefs and cognitive biases contributing to the explanation of gambling frequency via gambling intentions. One of the notable findings was the role of perceived social influences (normative beliefs) in determining gambling intentions for low risk and at-risk gamblers. The unique influence of the Wave 2 measures of excitement and ego enhancement on gambling frequency underscored the role of emotion oriented motivations in gambling behaviour. In the final study (n = 495), the ability of the same constructs to predict changes in gambling risk status were examined. One of the major findings was that low risk gamblers who transitioned to an increased level of risk 2 years later scored significantly higher on the emotion dimensions of motivations at Wave 1 than those who remained at low risk. Taken together, the findings indicate that emotional reasons for gambling play an important role in sustained gambling behaviour. The implications for these findings are discussed within the context of a gambling harm minimisation framework.

    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMary Morris (Supervisor)

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