Relative deprivation and its relationship to problem gambling

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Schoen, Anthony J.
University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology
Personal relative deprivation (PRD) is the feeling of resentment one gets from perceived inequality or unfairness. This feeling is argued to be a precursor to risk-taking as well as a causal factor in the development of intensive gambling and problem gambling (PG). However, the evidence supporting the relationship between PG and PRD has been cross-sectional or laboratory based. The present research reinvestigated this relationship using a representative online sample of Canadian gamblers (n = 4,400, which included several hundred problem gamblers) followed over a one-year period (Baseline and Follow-Up). A series of multiple regressions endeavoured to determine PRD’s causal relationship to PG, even though PRD was only administered at Follow-Up. The first multiple regression confirmed PRD to be one of the strongest cross-sectional predictors of problem gambling. However, the second cross-sectional multiple regression found no significant relationship between PRD and measures of gambling intensity (i.e., # formats engaged in; gambling frequency), which is theoretically problematic considering that intensive gambling involvement is the immediate antecedent to PG. The final multiple regression found that PG at Baseline was one of the strongest predictors of PRD at Follow-Up. Taken together, the present results suggest that the robust cross-sectional association between PG and PRD is in large part due to PG leading to PRD, rather than PRD leading to PG.
Problem gambling , PRD , Personal relative deprivation , Risk taking