Background and aims: We examined the potential role religious beliefs may play in disordered gambling. Specifically, we tested the idea that religiosity primes people to place their faith in good fortune or a higher power. In the context of gambling, however, this may lead to gambling fallacies (e.g., erroneous beliefs that one has control over a random outcome). People who are high in religiosity may be more at risk of developing gambling fallacies, as they may believe that a higher power can influence a game of chance. Thus, this research investigated the relationship between religiosity and gambling problems and whether gambling fallacies mediated this relationship. Methods: In Study 1, we recruited an online sample from Amazon's Mechanical Turk to complete measures that assessed the central constructs (religiosity, disordered gambling, and gambling fallacies). In Study 2, we conducted a secondary analysis of a large data set of representative adults (N = 4,121) from a Canadian province, which contained measures that assessed the constructs of interest. Results: In Study 1, religiosity significantly predicted gambling problem. Conversely, there was no direct relationship between religiosity and gambling in Study 2. Importantly, a significant indirect effect of religiosity on disordered gambling severity through gambling fallacies was found in both studies, thus establishing mediation. The results remained the same when controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status for both studies. Discussion and conclusion: These findings suggest religiosity and its propensity to be associated with gambling fallacies, which should be considered in the progression (and possibly treatment) of gambling.

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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Department of Psychology

Kim, H.S. (Hyoun S.), Shifrin, A. (Alexandra), Sztainert, T. (Travis), & Wohl, M. (2018). Placing your faith on the betting floor: Religiosity predicts disordered gambling via gambling fallacies. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(2), 401–409. doi:10.1556/2006.7.2018.23