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The Influence of Locus of Control and Sensation Seeking Among Undergraduate Texas Hold’em Players

Erin J. Shumlich, Samara Perez, Peter N. S. Hoaken

Abstract


Texas Hold’em poker has become increasingly popular on university and college campuses. However, not much is known about personality correlates of engaging in Hold’em, which is commonly seen as more skill-based compared to other forms of gambling. The current study sought to determine where, how much, and which students are playing Hold’em, and to further distinguish these patterns among gamblers. The current study describes Canadian university students’ Hold’em-specific behaviour and beliefs, as well as determines whether locus of control and sensation seeking traits independently correlate with and predict gambling behaviour among a university sample. Undergraduate students (N = 96) completed an online questionnaire containing Rotter’s Internality-Externality scale (I-E), the Zuckerman Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) and the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Participants played a round of Hold’em in lab and answered a survey about their perception of Hold’em and of the game they played. Sensation seeking and external locus of control were significantly positively correlated with gambling pathology. Participants overestimated the number of hands played and the time spent playing Hold’em. There was a significant positive correlation between gambling pathology and gambling success. The I-E and boredom susceptibility sensation seeking subscale significantly predicts some problem/pathological gambling. The current study suggests that more pathological gamblers display higher levels of sensation seeking and a more external locus of control than non-problem gamblers, and that the type of gambling activity and setting in which gambling occurs should be considered in future research looking at personality characteristics of certain problem/pathological gamblers.

 

Résumé

La version de poker Texas Hold’em fait de plus en plus d’adeptes sur les campus. On ne connaît cependant pas grand-chose sur les corrélats de personnalité qui entrent en jeu dans le Hold’em, mais ils semblent généralement plus axés sur les compétences par rapport aux autres formes de jeux de hasard. Cette étude a cherché à déterminer les lieux, le nombre et le genre d’étudiants qui jouent au Hold’em et à caractériser plus en profondeur ces modèles parmi les joueurs. L’étude décrit le comportement et les croyances propres aux étudiants universitaires canadiens et détermine si le locus de contrôle et les caractéristiques de recherche de sensation sont en corrélation et prédisent indépendamment le comportement du jeu dans un échantillon universitaire. Pour l’étude, les étudiants de premier cycle (N = 96) ont rempli un questionnaire en ligne contenant l’échelle de Rotter (I-E) sur l’internalité-externalité, l’échelle de Zuckerman sur la recherche de sensation et le South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Les participants ont joué une partie de Hold’em en laboratoire et ont répondu à un sondage sur leur perception du Hold’em et de la partie qu’ils ont jouée. La recherche de sensations et le lieu de contrôle externe ont été corrélés positivement et substantiellement à la pathologie du jeu. Les participants ont surestimé le nombre de mains jouées et le temps consacré à jouer la partie. Il y a eu corrélation positive importante entre la pathologie du jeu et la réussite du jeu. L’échelle sur l’internalité-externalité et la sous-échelle de la disposition à l’ennui prédisent de manière significative certains problèmes ou pathologies liés au jeu. L’étude actuelle suggère que plus de joueurs pathologiques affichent des niveaux plus élevés de recherche de sensation et un locus de contrôle plus externe que les joueurs sans problème, et que ce type d’activité de jeu et le contexte dans lequel le jeu se produit devraient être pris en compte dans les recherches futures sur les caractéristiques de la personnalité de certains joueurs compulsifs/pathologiques.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4309/jgi.v0i37.3990

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