Norwegian lottery winners: Cautious realists
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The study investigated 261 lottery winners of prizes of NKR 1 million (US $150,000) or more in the years 1987–91 in a postal survey. The modal Norwegian winners were middle-aged married men of modest education, living in small communities. Emotional reactions to winning were few, aside from moderate happiness and relief. Winners emphasized caution, emotional control and unconspicuous spending, e.g. paying debts and sharing with children. There was only a slight increase in economic spending. A wish for anonymity was frequent, together with fear of envy from others. Betting was modest both before and after winning. Experiences with winning were predominantly positive. Life quality was stable or had improved. An age trend was observed, accounting for more variance than any other variable. The older winners seemed to represent a puritan subculture of caution, modesty and emotional restraint. A slightly more impatient pattern of spending was characteristic of younger winners. The results support Kaplan's 1987 and others' findings that lottery winners are not gamblers, but self-controlled realists and that tenacious, negative cultural expectations to the contrary are myths, but perhaps also deterrents of uncontrolled behavior.
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