Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

College of Education and Human Development

Committee Chair

Mahony, Daniel F.

Author's Keywords

Reasoned Action; Gambling; College athletes


Gambling--Psychological aspects; College students


Legal and illegal gambling opportunities are readily available to students on college campuses and surrounding areas (Saum, 1999). College students are at an age that is highly impressionable, experimental, and prime to taking risks while ignoring the potential consequences (Oster, 1992). Because of their desire for competition, college student athletes may be highly susceptible to the lure of gambling. While the rates of pathological gambling are high for college students, the rates for the subpopulation of college student athletes are posited to be even higher (Rockey, Beason, Lee, Stewart, & Gilbert, 1997). The general purpose of the current study was to examine the gambling behavior of college students and, in particular, college student athletes. Specifically, this study examined the relationships among subjective norms, gambling attitudes, gambling motivations, locus of control, and gambling intentions on the gambling behavior of college students. The goal of this study was to assess gambling in a specific population with easy access to gambling and to evaluate the adequacy of a modified Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) for predicting gambling frequency and gambling behavior. Several studies have used the TRA to examine gambling behavior (Cummings & Corney, 1989; Moore & Ohtsuka, 1997, 1999; Oh & Hsu, 2001). All of these studies have found the TRA to be an effective instrument when examining gambling behavior. However, the researcher chose to modify the TRA in the current study by adding two moderating variables, intrinsic motivation and locus of control, to the conceptual model in order to provide a better conceptual model for future research. The population (N = 345) was recruited from Health and Sport Sciences Department classes at the University of Louisville. The average age of the participants was 21.1 years. Participants completed a self-reported survey containing 90 items and it was completed during class time. Evidence of the validity and reliability of each instrument in the survey was provided. With the exception of the Gambling Motivation Scale for Intrinsic Motivation to Experience Stimulation, estimates of internal consistency for each scale were acceptable as coefficient alphas ranged from .76 to .90. The current study found males reported statistically more positive attitudes towards gambling than females, but did not report statistically different subjective norms. Student athletes reported no significant differences in attitudes or subjective norms when compared to other students. The current study also found that attitudes and subjective norms both significantly and positively predicted gambling intentions. However, the portion of the variance predicted by each was low. Gambling intentions significantly and positively predicted gambling behavior in terms of specific gambling types, but gambling intentions did not significantly and positively predict gambling behavior in terms of amount of money gambled. The results indicated the addition of the moderating variable in the TRA was appropriate. In the case of intrinsic motivation, both intrinsic motivation to know and intrinsic motivation to accomplish significantly moderated the relationship between gambling attitudes and gambling intentions, predicting 1% and 2% of the accounted variance respectively. In addition, all three locus of control variables, internal locus of control, chance locus of control, and powerful others locus of control were found to be significant moderators of the relationship between gambling attitudes and gambling intentions. The interaction of the gambling attitudes and the locus of control variables accounted for 5% (internal), 8% (chance), and 10% (powerful others) of the variance in gambling intentions. The current study found that (1) there were differences in gambling attitudes between men and women, (2) attitudes and subjective norms predicted gambling intentions and intentions predicted gambling act