Williams, Robert

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    Predictors of gambling and problem gambling in Canada
    (Springer, 2021) Williams, Robert J.; Leonard, Carrie A.; Belanger, Yale D.; Christensen, Darren R.; el-Guebaly, Nady; Hodgins, David C.; McGrath, Daniel S.; Nicoll, Fiona; Smith, Garry J.; Stevens, Rhys M. G.
    Objectives:The purpose of this study is to provide an updated profile of gamblers and problem gamblers in Canada and to identify characteristics most strongly associated with problem gambling. Methods: An assessment of gambling participation and problem gambling was included in the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey and administered to 23,952 individuals 18 years and older. Descriptive statistics provided a demographic profile for each type of gambling involvement as well as category of gambler (non-gambler, non-problem gambler, at-risk gambler,problem gambler). A logistic regression identified characteristics that best distinguished problem from non-problem gamblers. Results: Gambling participation and problem gambling both varied as a function of gender, income, educational attainment, and race/ethnicity. However, multivariate analysis identified electronic gambling machine (EGM) participation to be the primary predictor of problem gambling status, with race/ethnicity, presence of a mood disorder, male gender, casino table game participation, older age, a greater level of smoking, participation in speculative financial activity, instant lottery participation, lower household income, and lottery or raffle ticket participation providing additional predictive power. Provincial EGM density and EGM participation rates are also very strong predictors of provincial rates of at-risk and problem gambling. Conclusion: Problem gambling has a biopsychosocial etiology, determined by personal vulnerability factors combined with the presence of riskier types of gambling such as EGMs. Effective prevention requires a multifaceted approach, but constraints on the availability and operation of EGMs would likely have the greatest single public health benefit.
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    Gambling and problem gambling in Canada in 2018: prevalence and changes since 2002
    (Sage, 2020) Williams, Robert J.; Leonard, Carrie A.; Belanger, Yale D.; Christensen, Darren R.; el-Guebaly, Nady; Hodgins, David C.; McGrath, Daniel S.; Nicoll, Fiona; Stevens, Rhys M. G.
    Objective The purpose of this study was to provide an updated profile of gambling and problem gambling in Canada and to examine how the rates and pattern of participation compare to 2002. Method An assessment of gambling and problem gambling was included in the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey and administered to 24,982 individuals aged 15 and older. The present analyses selected for adults (18+). Results A total of 66.2% of people reported engaging in some type of gambling in 2018, primarily lottery and/or raffle tickets, the only type in which the majority of Canadians participate. There are some significant inter-provincial differences, with perhaps the most important one being the higher rate of electronic gambling machine (EGM) participation in Manitoba and Saskatchewan The overall pattern of gambling in 2018 is very similar to 2002, although participation is generally much lower in 2018, particularly for EGMs and bingo. Only 0.6% of the population were identified as problem gamblers in 2018, with an additional 2.7% being at-risk gamblers. There is no significant inter-provincial variation in problem gambling rates. The inter-provincial pattern of problem gambling in 2018 is also very similar to what was found in 2002 with the main difference being a 45% decrease in the overall prevalence of problem gambling. Conclusions Gambling and problem gambling have both decreased in Canada from 2002 to 2018, although the provincial patterns are quite similar between the two time periods. Several mechanisms have likely collectively contributed to these declines. Decreases have also been reported in several other western countries in recent years and have occurred despite the expansion of legal gambling opportunities, suggesting a degree of inoculation or adaptation in the population.
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    The protective role of religiosity against problem gamblers: findings from a five-year prospective study
    (BioMed Central, 2017) Mutti-Packer, Seema; Hodgins, David C.; Williams, Robert J.; Thege, Konkoly
    Background: Little research has examined the potential protective influence of religiosity against problem gambling; a common addictive behavior, and one with a host of associated negative health and social outcomes. The aims of this study were to examine (1) the potential longitudinal association between religiosity and problem gambling among adults and (2) the potential moderating role of gender on this association. Methods: Data were from five waves of the Quinte Longitudinal Study (QLS), between 2006 and 2010. Participants were Canadian adults from Belleville, Ontario, Canada (n = 4121). A multiple group (based on gender) latent growth curve analysis was conducted to examine the overall trajectory of problem gambling severity. Two models were tested; the first examined the influence of past-year religious service attendance, and the second examined an overall measure of personal religiosity on the trajectory of problem gambling. The Problem and Pathological Gambling Measure (PPGM) was used as a continuous measure. The Rohrbaugh-Jessor Religiosity Scale (RJRS) was used to assess past-year frequency of religious service attendance and personal religiosity. Religious affiliation (Protestant, Catholic, Atheist/Agnostic, Other, Prefer not to say) was also included in the models. Results: At baseline, higher frequency of past-year religious service attendance (males: β= −0.54, females: β= −0.68, p < 0.001 for both) and greater overall personal religiosity (males: β= −0.17, females: β= −0.13, p < 0.001 for both) were associated with lower PPGM scores. The moderating effect of gender indicated that the influence of past-year religious service attendance was greater among females (χ2diff(44) = 336.8, p < 0.001); however, the effect of overall religiosity was greater among males (χ2diff(36) = 213.4, p < 0.001). Findings were mixed with respect to religious affiliation. No measures of religiosity or religious affiliation were associated with the overall decline in problem gambling severity. Conclusions: These findings suggest that religiosity may act as a static protective factor against problem gambling severity but may play a less significant role in predicting change in problem gambling severity over time.
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    Characteristics of good poker players
    (Center for Addiction & Mental Health, 2015) Leonard, Carrie A.; Williams, Robert J.
    Poker is characterized as a ‘‘mixed’’ game: a game that includes both skill and chance components. But what individual differences are characteristic of skilled poker players? No previous study has sought to evaluate the full scope of characteristics contributing to playing skill. The purpose of this study was to fill this void by attempting to comprehensively examine the individual characteristics associated with good poker players. Results from a sample of undergraduate students and community members (n = 100) showed that good players are more likely to be male, to have lower susceptibility to gambling fallacies, a greater tolerance for financial risk, superior social information processing skills, and less openness to aesthetic and imaginative experience. Evidence from this study also indicates that having sufficient levels of most of these attributes is more important for poker success than having exceptional strength in just one or two of these areas.
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    Gambling and problem gambling in North American Aboriginal people
    (University of Manitoba Press, 2011) Williams, Robert J.; Stevens, Rhys M. G.; Nixon, Gary
    The purpose of this paper is to review what is known about gambling and problem gambling among Aboriginal peoples of North America. The focus is primarily on current gambling practices, and on health and social issues rather than economic ones. The first part of this paper provides a brief review of historical aspects of Aboriginal gambling. The second part reviews the current situation with specific reference to the meaning of gambling for Aboriginal people, current patterns of gambling behaviour, and the prevalence and causes of problem gambling within this population.