Predicting Gambling Propensity and Behavior: The Role of Social Axioms and Distortive Beliefs

Wesley C.H. Wu, Sylvia Xiaohua Chen, Stella Sau Kuen Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Theory and research have revealed the impact of cognitive factors on propensity for gambling, but the role of generalized beliefs and their underlying mechanisms receive little attention. In the present research, we operationalized generalized beliefs as social axioms (Leung et al. in J Cross Cult Psychol 33:286-302, 2002) and tested how the axiom factors of fate control and social cynicism affected the likelihood to gamble in hypothetical scenarios (Study 1) and the actual behaviour of gambling (Study 2). In Study 1, we found that both fate control and social cynicism positively predicted the propensity to participate in horse betting and casino gambling among university students (n = 184). The effect of fate control was mediated by perceived benefit of gambling, whereas social cynicism affected gambling propensity directly. In Study 2, we showed the same effects of fate control and social cynicism on gambling frequency among at-risk adolescents (n = 547), and identified two types of gambling-related cognition (i.e., distortive gambling cognitions and attitudes towards money) as mediators. Overall, this research provided evidence for the importance of social beliefs in formulating specific gambling cognitions and gambling behaviours, shedding light on intervention strategies for helping frequent gamblers through altering their worldviews in general and risk-taking beliefs in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-986
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Fate control
  • Gambling
  • Risk-taking
  • Social axioms
  • Social cynicism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

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