Les comportements de jeu et l'illusion de contrôle chez des universitaires avec et sans maîtrise des statistiques et des probabilités

Authors: Smith, Isabelle
Advisor: Giroux, Isabelle
Abstract: After 30 years of research, it has been shown empirically that cognitive distortions act as fundamental factors underlying gambling and gambling problems. They are explained mainly by a misunderstanding of the notions of chance, statistics and probabilities (SP) and by an illusion of control over the outcome of the game. That is why prevention and treatment programs of gambling problems have been developed around the teaching of these mathematical concepts and correction of cognitive distortions. Despite a common use of these intervention techniques with problem gamblers, studies of gambling attitudes and behaviors have not all concluded that having or acquiring SP knowledge decreases gambling habits. The first study of this thesis thus sought to compare the gambling behavior of 45 university students and graduates demonstrating a reasonable mastery of SP to those of 29 people who do not demonstrate knowledge in this field of mathematics. The results show that the participation rate of the individuals surveyed is high, but that they gamble at a minimum frequency and that they invest little money, whether or not they have SP knowledge. In addition, they experience few gambling problems. The moderate contribution of SP knowledge on gambling behaviors of an already highly educated and low-gambling university population is discussed, as is the repetition of this absence of effect in the literature. These results have led to further our understanding of how individuals with high levels of education are also engaged in gambling activities, although we can expect a better understanding of the issues related to gambling and, as a result, to a greater precaution. That these people are tempted by gambling is surprising and brings its lot of questions. Their level of education is superior, but their gambling behaviors do not demonstrate it, which gives the impression that some of their characteristics could lead them to overestimate their ability to control the outcome of the games, rather than other types of erroneous beliefs. However, this hypothesis is neglected in the literature. From the data originally collected, the second study examines the relationship between the illusion of control over gambling and different cognitive and personality variables among 142 university students and graduates. First, it aims to draw a portrait of their beliefs related to gambling (illusion of control, gambler’s fallacy and superstitions) and other elements that can lead to an illusion of control, which are, the degree of optimism, the internality of their locus of control, whether or not they have particular SP knowledge, and their degree of confidence in their understanding of gambling. Finally, in a multiple regression model, this study tests potential predictors of the illusion of control related to gambling within this sample. The results agree on an association between higher SP knowledge, fewer misconceptions related to superstition, and a higher degree of optimism. A strong negative association also exists between illusion of control related to gambling and the degree of confidence about those gambling beliefs. Among these participants, the illusion of control over gambling can be predicted by a weaker SP knowledge, lower confidence in beliefs and being male. The function of doubt about gambling beliefs in educated individuals is examined in terms of potential metacognitive protective factor. The thesis concludes with a discussion about the implication of these results for the understanding of gambling in a context of cognitive switching in order to adapt prevention strategies. Finally, the strengths and limitations of the thesis are listed, and we make recommendations for variables and samples to be studied in the future.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 21 June 2019
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/35235
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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