The role of outcome expectancies and adolescent gambling


Scientists and policy makers have become increasingly interested in the reasons why adolescents choose to gamble. One possible contributing factor is what adolescents expect will happen if they gamble. Expectancy theory posits that the choice to engage in a given behavior is influenced by an individual's expectations of the reinforcing or punishing effects of engagement in that behavior. Germane outcome expectancies predict risk-taking behaviors among adolescents and have been targeted in successful prevention programs to reduce adolescent substance use. With a focus on adolescents, the objective of this chapter is to review expectancy theory, the application of this theory to risk taking behavior, and the growing literature of gambling outcome expectancies. Included will be a review of the assessment of gambling outcome expectancies, relations between these outcome expectancies and gambling frequency and problems, and demographic variables that appear related to these gambling expectancies. Although gambling outcome expectancies literature has not yet been applied to prevention and brief treatment efforts, the chapter will consider the possible application of the research toward efforts to reduce excessive gambling among adolescents.

Publication Title

Gambling: Cultural Attitudes, Motivations and Impact on Quality of Life

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