A solid bet – Carleton researchers receive funding to study gambling behaviours

Carleton University researchers have been approved for a $197,310 grant by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre to further investigate gambling behaviours.

Lead investigator and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Michael Wohl explains the project will look at factors that predict pathological gambling behaviour among adults and their willingness to receive treatment.

Subjects of the research will be first-year university students—a significant age group notes Wohl.

“Previous data show rates of pathological gamblers amongst young adults are two times that of the regular population.” The research conducted here will attempt to explain this significant percentage among this age group.

Past research in this area has concentrated on the role luck plays in gambling behaviour. By definition, luck is a random event, but despite this, some people believe luck is “the quality of a person rather than an event,” says Wohl. “Such perceptions of personal luck predict continued gambling behaviour.” Basically, if a person thinks she is lucky, she will continue gambling for the possibility of a win.

In Wohl’s new study, he will assess psychological factors, such as perceptions of personal luck, and physiological components of gambling behaviour, such as the stress response of gamblers.

Researchers predict pathological gamblers will experience a “high” before gambling, which Wohl labels as “eustress,” a positive form of stress.

Co-investigators include Hymie Ainsman and Kimberly Matheson, both professors with the Department of Psychology.

From – http://www.now.carleton.ca/2004-11/558.htm

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