Motivation and emotion/Book/2011/Gambling/Glossary

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Resource type: this resource is a glossary.


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Affiliation is 'the anxious need to establish, maintain and restore interpersonal relations.' (Reeve, 2009, p. 193.)

Eudaimonic well-being

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The experience of seeking out challenges,exerting effort, being fully engaged and experiencing flow in what one is doing, acting on one's true values, and feeling fully alive and authentic (Ryan & Deci, 2001; Reeve, 2009, p. 443).

External Locus of Control (ELOC)

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Simply put, individuals with an ELOC believe that the outcome of their gambling activity is under the control of some outside force. That force could be chance, fate, God or luck. This delusory thinking is reinforced because gamblers believe that, as their losses outweigh their wins, there is some external reason confounding the outcome of their efforts (de Stadelhofen, Aufrère, Besson, & Rossier, 2009).

Extrinsic motivation

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Extrinsic motivation (EM) is 'an environmentally created reason (i.e. to get money or to end criticism) to initiate or persist in an action.' (Reeve,2009, p. 113.)

EM is closely identified with an external locus of control i.e. the activity is being undertaken following an instruction or direction to perform the activity, or, for example, to impress someone other than the self. EM has four sub-types: External regulation (where the importance of the reward or punishment, is paramount), Introjection (involves the ego and is about approval from others - and to an extent from the self), Identification (being aware of the value of the activity and includes some level of self endorsement of goals), and Integration (where the regulations governing extrinsic activity are understood/integrated in relation to the other needs and values of the individual) (Ryan & Deci, 2000).


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1. a. to play games of chance for money, esp. for unduly high stakes; to stake money (esp. to an extravagant amount) on some fortuitous event. As the word is (at least in serious use) essentially a term of reproach, it would not ordinarily be applied to the action of playing for stakes of trifling amount, except by those who condemn playing for money altogether (Oxford English Dictionary (OED) 2011). This definition treads a delicate line between the two types of gambling considered in this chapter, Pathological gambling and Recreational (or Social) gambling. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), (2008) includes Pathological gambling as an 'Impulse-Control Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified' (pp. 671 - 674). Hence, (i) Recreational or Social gambling is not considered a disorder, and (ii) this perhaps raises questions about the veracity of assertions that Pathological gambling is an addiction.

Hedonic well-being

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The experience of pleasure, the absence of problems and the living of a relaxed and good life (Reeve, 2009, p. 443.

Intrinsic motivation

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Intrinsic motivation is 'a natural motivation that emerges spontaneously out of peoples psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness.' (Reeve, 2009, p. 112.) A person is moved to act for the fun or challenge of doing so, not because of any external pressure (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Pathological gambling

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Pathological gambling (PG) refers to persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behaviour that disrupts, personal, family or vocational pursuits. (American Psychiatric Association (APA), 2008, p. 671.)

Pitfalls and treatment of pathological gambling

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The problem lies in establishing whether the individual has control over the situation in which she or he places themself. Gambling in a semi-organised manner with friends is one way to avoid excessive gambling. For example, Friedman, Deci, Elliot, Moller, and Aarts (2009) found that when extrinsically motivated individuals observed intrinsically motivated individuals engaging in a task, the extrinsically motivated individuals adopted an intrinsic approach to the same activity when presented with that activity. That type of priming is a favourable sign, however this may not prove successful on every occasion, and it is unlikely that a problem gambler will successfully cease gambling for any prolonged period of time without continued support.

Some researchers e.g. Chóliz (2009) have suggested Operant Conditioning to change gambling behaviour, that however requires changing e.g. the reward frequency of slot machines.

By far the most difficult decision for people in this category is to acknowledge that they have a problem with gambling. The psychological community recognises that significantly more research is needed to identify the different reasons why some people become problem gamblers and other do not (Ladd & Pertry, 2002). It is also recognised that a better understanding of gender specific factors is necessary to enable more suitable and adaptive methods for treatment and prevention of pathological gambling (Ladd & Petry, 2002). Research suggests that, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), only a small proportion of gamblers (21%) seek help for their gambling problem, rather they seek assistance with relationship problems, for financial problems, and access welfare and food subsidies, for example (Carroll, Davidson, Marsh & Rogers, 2011).

Recreational gambling

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Recreational gambling (RG) typically occurs with friends or colleagues and lasts for a limited period of time, with predetermined acceptable losses. (APA, 2008, p. 673.)


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The psychological and behavioural attempt at re-establishing ("reacting" against) an eliminated or threatened freedom. (Reeve, 2009, p. 256.)

Risk has a number of interpretations but primarily refers to the choices an individual makes. For example (i) Risk as in, jeopardising something of value e.g. money, relationship; or (ii) Risk as in, the potential for positive or negative outcomes. The quality of Risk when used in this chapter should be evident to the reader.

South Oaks Gambling Screen

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For Self administered test, click

'The urge to gamble is a physiological, psychological and emotional motivational state often associated with continued gambling.' (Raylu & Oei, 2004, p. 100.)

See Also

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  • Gambling - Glossary - (2010 textbook chapter on gambling).

References (Glossary)

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American Psychiatric Association (2008). Pathological Gambling, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (4th ed., Text Revision). Arlington, Va: APA Publishing.

Chóliz, M. (2010). Experimental analysis of the game in pathological gamblers: Effect of the immediacy of the reward in slot machines. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26, 2, 249-256.

Carroll, A., Davidson, T., Marsh, R., & Rodgers, B. (2011). Help-seeking and uptake of services amongst people with gambling problems in the ACT, 54 & 68. Retrieved from

de Stadelhofen, F. M., Aufrère, L. Besson, J., and Rossier, J. (2009). Somewhere between illusion of control and powerlessness: Trying to situate the pathological gambler's locus of control. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 9, 1, 117-126.

Friedman, R., Deci, E. L., Elliot, A. J., Moller, A. C., & Aarts, H. (2010). Motivational synchronicity: Priming motivational orientations with observations of others' behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 34, 34-38.

Ladd, G. T., & Petry, N. M. (2002). Gender differences among pathological gamblers seeking treatment. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 10, 3, 302-309.

Oxford English Dictionary, (2011). Gambling: Definition. Oxford University Press, online. Retrieved from:

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion, (5th ed.). Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141-166.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67.

Raylu, N., & Oei, T. P. S. (2004). The gambling urge scale: Development, confirmatory factor validation, and psychometric properties. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 18, 2, 100-105.