Sensation Seeking and Illusion of Control in Gambling Behaviour

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Problem gambling is a behavioural disorder that affects adults and young adults alike. Researchers are interested in finding out what causes this disorder and identifying risk and preventive factors, as there are growing concerns about the increase of pathological gamblers in the general population. The purpose of the present study is to substantiate evidence of past studies and provide support by showing that illusion of control is directly related to the personality characteristic of sensation seeking, and that both of these factors can affect problematic gambling behaviour.

For the present study gambling is defined as wagering money on games of chance, sensation seeking is defined as the need for varied novel and complex sensations and experiences, and illusion of control is defined as an expectancy of personal success in a situation when the actual probability is extremely low.

For the first study, Nower, L., Derevensky, J.L., & Gupta, R. (2004) conducted a study that investigated the relationship of sensation seeking and problem gambling in males and females. The participants included 1,339 youth which consisted of 637 males, and 702 females, (17-21 years= old). Two different measures were used to assess pathological gambling and sensation seeking, and were both broken down into sub scales. The first measure was later divided into four classifications of gamblers which included: non gamblers, social gamblers, problem gamblers, and probable pathological gamblers (Nower et al. 2004). The Later scale was also divided into two sub scales: intensity seeking and novelty seeking. All participants were provided with a paper survey in which they had 55 minutes to complete. For the first experiment results indicted that males and females differed greatly in pathological gambling, with 6.8% of males and 1.7% of females being classified as pathological gamblers. In addition, of the total sample 4.1% of the participants met the standards for pathological...
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