Implicit and Explicit Gambling Outcome Expectancies: Activation by Gambling Cue Exposure and Utility in Predicting Gambling Outcomes
MetadataShow full item record
Outcome expectancies are mental “if...then” propositions that make connections between behaviour and anticipated consequences. Despite their theoretical significance in addictive behaviours, a paucity of research has investigated the role of outcome expectancies in gambling, and the little research conducted in this area has focused on explicit (i.e., self-reported) gambling outcome expectancies. To increase our understanding of the influence of both implicit and explicit outcome expectancies in gambling, my dissertation research aimed to: (1) investigate the role of exposure to gambling cues on the activation of implicit and explicit gambling outcome expectancies using both reaction time (RT) and self-report measures (Study 1 and 2), and (2) assess the utility of implicit and explicit gambling outcome expectancies in independently predicting gambling behaviour (i.e., time spent and money risked gambling) and gambling problems among regular gamblers (Study 3a and 3b). In Study 1, results revealed that exposure to a five-minute video of gambling scenes led to the activation of implicit and explicit positive (but not negative) gambling outcome expectancies among regular gamblers. In Study 2, findings showed that brief exposure (i.e., 30 seconds) to gambling advertisements while simultaneously engaged in another cognitive task activated implicit but not explicit positive gambling outcome expectancies in regular gamblers’ memory networks. Consistent with Study 1 findings, gambling advertisement exposure did not activate implicit or explicit negative gambling outcome expectancies. In Study 3, it was found that both the RT task and self-report measure of positive gambling outcome expectancies significantly contributed unique as well as shared variance to the prediction of self-reported time spent and money risked gambling (Study 3a), and problem gambling severity (Study 3b). Taken together, findings from my dissertation highlight the relevance of outcome expectancies in gambling and provide evidence of the differential impact of gambling cues on the activation of implicit and explicit gambling outcome expectancies, as well as the influence of positive gambling outcome expectancies on gambling behaviour and gambling problems. In light of the present findings, it is important that future research make use of both direct (explicit) and indirect (implicit) assessment modes when examining the role of outcome expectancies in gambling.