Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

James G. Emshoff, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Cynthia Hoffner

Third Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Roderick Watts, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Dominic Parrott, Ph.D.


Today’s youth have been exposed to more gambling-related media than previous generations, and they have grown up in an era in which states not only sanction but also run and promote gambling enterprises. Social Learning Theory proposes that one can develop new attitudes or expectancies about a specific behavior by watching others engage in that behavior, and that the media is one avenue through which one can develop new expectancies (Bandura, 2001). In addition, the Theory of Reasoned Action proposes that one’s behaviors are influenced directly by both subjective norms and attitudes (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975). A mixed methods explanatory design was used to test a modified version of the Theory of Reasoned Action in which subjective norms and gambling-related media were hypothesized to have an effect on gambling behaviors directly and indirectly through both positive and negative expectancies. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the hypotheses, and semi-standardized interviews were used to help explain the results of the quantitative analyses and provide a richer and more accurate interpretation of the data. The hypothesized model was partially supported: the model was a good fit with the female college student data, accounting for 27.8% of variance in female student gambling behaviors, and it fit the male college student data reasonably well, accounting for 35.2% of variance in male student gambling behaviors. Results indicated that perceived subjective norms were more important for female college students. Results also indicated that exposure to gambling-related media has a direct positive association with both male and female college student gambling behaviors, and that exposure to gambling-related media has an indirect, positive association with male college student behaviors through positive expectancies. However, exposure to gambling-related media is not associated with positive expectancies about gambling for female college students. Data from the qualitative interviews supported the findings from the qualitative analyses and provided some clues about the progression from non-problematic to problematic behaviors, which may inform future research in this area.


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Psychology Commons