Gambling as a search for justice: Examining the role of personal relative deprivation in gambling urges and gambling behavior

Mitchell J. Callan, John H. Ellard, N. Will Shead, David C. Hodgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present article explores the hypothesis that gambling might serve a justice-seeking function for some people, as gambling might offer a means to pursuing desirable outcomes that people feel they deserve but might be unable or unwilling to attain through conventional means. In Study 1, across two separate samples, self-reports of personal relative deprivation predict problem gambling and gambling urges over and above relevant control variables. In Study 2, the authors manipulate personal relative deprivation by informing participants that they have either less or more discretionary income than "similar others." They then give participants $20 and the opportunity to gamble. The results show that a greater percentage of participants who are "relatively deprived" (vs. "not relatively deprived") opt to gamble. Two manipulation validation studies demonstrate that the "relatively deprived" participants are preoccupied with justice during a modified Stroop task and feel resentful. Implications for understanding why people gamble are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1514-1529
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume34
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Belief in a just world
  • Gambling
  • Gambling urges
  • Justice motivation
  • Personal relative deprivation
  • Problem gambling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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