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      Placing your faith on the betting floor: Religiosity predicts disordered gambling via gambling fallacies

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          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.


          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.


          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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          Most cited references 40

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          Conducting Clinical Research Using Crowdsourced Convenience Samples.

          Crowdsourcing has had a dramatic impact on the speed and scale at which scientific research can be conducted. Clinical scientists have particularly benefited from readily available research study participants and streamlined recruiting and payment systems afforded by Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), a popular labor market for crowdsourcing workers. MTurk has been used in this capacity for more than five years. The popularity and novelty of the platform have spurred numerous methodological investigations, making it the most studied nonprobability sample available to researchers. This article summarizes what is known about MTurk sample composition and data quality with an emphasis on findings relevant to clinical psychological research. It then addresses methodological issues with using MTurk--many of which are common to other nonprobability samples but unfamiliar to clinical science researchers--and suggests concrete steps to avoid these issues or minimize their impact.
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            Religious involvement and mortality: A meta-analytic review.

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              Belief in supernatural agents in the face of death.

              Four studies examined whether awareness of mortality intensifies belief in supernatural agents among North Americans. In Studies 1 and 2, mortality salience led to more religiosity, stronger belief in God, and in divine intervention. In Studies 3 and 4, mortality salience increased supernatural agent beliefs even when supernatural agency was presented in a culturally alien context (divine Buddha in Study 3, Shamanic spirits in Study 4). The latter effects occurred primarily among the religiously affiliated, who were predominantly Christian. Implications for the role of supernatural agent beliefs in assuaging mortality concerns are discussed.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                07 April 2018
                June 2018
                : 7
                : 2
                : 401-409
                [ 1 ]Department of Psychology, University of Calgary , Ottawa, ON, Canada
                [ 2 ]Department of Psychology, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON, Canada
                [ 3 ] Gambling Research Exchange Ontario , Guelph, ON, Canada
                [ 4 ]Department of Psychology, Carleton University , Ottawa, ON, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Michael J. A. Wohl; Department of Psychology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada; Phone: +1 902 520 2600/2908; Fax: +1 613 520 3667; E-mail: michael.wohl@
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 42, Pages: 9
                Funding sources: No financial support was received for this study.
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