Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 125–140 | Cite as

Self-Identification as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Gambling-Related Perceived Norms and Gambling Behavior

  • Dawn W. Foster
  • Clayton Neighbors
  • Lindsey M. Rodriguez
  • Brenda Lazorwitz
  • Rubi Gonzales
Original Paper


This research was designed to evaluate social influences and perceived social norms on gambling behavior among undergraduate students. Furthermore, this research was designed to replicate and extend previous research demonstrating that young adults overestimate the prevalence of gambling among peers, and that the magnitude of overestimation is positively associated with own use (Larimer and Neighbors, Psychol Addict Behav 17:235–243, 2003). We expected that; (1) gambling college students would identify more strongly with other gambling students compared to other students in general; (2) identification with other gambling students would predict gambling behaviors over and above perceived prevalence of gambling; and (3) identification with other gambling students would moderate the association between perceived social norms and gambling behavior. Participants included 1,486 undergraduate students who completed measures assessing gambling quantity and frequency, gambling-related perceived descriptive norms, and identification with groups. Results revealed that perceived norms for gambling were associated with gambling and revealed that students identified more strongly with other students than either gamblers or student gamblers. However, gambling behavior was more strongly associated with identification with gambling students than students in general. There was consistent support for the perspective that social identity moderates the association between perceived norms for gambling and gambling behavior. This research builds on previous examinations of social influences related to gambling and suggests that it may be important to consider the overall prevalence of a given behavior before considering norms-based intervention approaches. Interventions utilizing social norms for gambling may be advised to consider references other than just the typical student.


Gambling Misperceptions Social norms Social identity 


  1. Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (Eds.). (1990). Social identity theory: Constructive and critical advances. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, G. M., Welte, J. W., Hoffman, J. H., & Tidwell, M. O. (2010). Comparisons of gambling and alcohol use among college students and noncollege young people in the United States. Journal of American College Health, 58(5), 443–452.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berkowitz, A. D. (1997). From reactive to proactive prevention: Promoting an ecology of health on campus. In P. C. Rivers & E. R. Shore (Eds.), Substance abuse on campus: A handbook for college and university personnel (pp. 119–139). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  5. Berkowitz, A. D., & Perkins, W. H. (1986). Problem drinking among college students: A review of recent research. Journal of American College Health, 35, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blaszczynski, A., Dumlao, V. V., & Lange, M. M. (1997). ‘How much do you spend gambling?’ Ambiguities in survey questionnaire items. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(3), 237–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blinn-Pike, L., Worthy, S. L., & Jonkman, J. N. (2007). Disordered gambling among college students: A meta analytic synthesis. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23, 175–183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borsari, B., & Carey, K. B. (2003). Descriptive and injunctive norms in college drinking: A meta-analytic integration. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64(3), 331–341.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Buunk, B. P., Bakker, A. B., Siero, F. W., van den Eijinden, R. J. J. M., & Yzer, M. C. (1998). Predictors of AIDS-preventive behavioral intentions among adult heterosexuals at risk for HIV infection: Extending current models and measures. AIDS Education and Prevention, 10, 149–172.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Cialdini, R. B., Reno, R. R., & Kallgren, C. A. (1990). A focus theory of normative conduct: Recycling the concept of norms to reduce littering in public places. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1015–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (1988). Set correlation and contingency tables. Applied Psychological Measurement, 12(4), 425–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  14. Cunningham-Williams, R. M., Cottler, L. B., Compton, W., & Spitznagel, E. L. (1998). Taking chances: Problem gamblers and mental health disorders: Results from the St. Louis Epidemiologic Catchment Area study. American Journal of Public Health, 88(7), 1093–1096.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deutsch, M., & Gerard, H. B. (1955). A study of normative and informational social influence upon individual judgment. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 629–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Engwall, D., Hunter, R., & Steinberg, M. (2004). Gambling and other risk behaviors on university campuses. Journal of American College Health, 52, 245–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goudriaan, A. E., Slutske, W. S., Krull, J. L., & Sher, K. J. (2009). Longitudinal patterns of gambling activities and associated risk factors in college students. Addiction, 104(7), 1219–1232.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnston, K. L., & White, K. M. (2003). Binge-drinking: A test of the role of group norms in the theory of planned behaviour. Psychology & Health, 18(1), 63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Korn, D., Gibbins, R., & Azmier, J. (2003). Framing public policy towards a public health paradigm for gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 19(2), 235–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. LaBrie, R. A., Shaffer, H. J., LaPlante, D., & Wechsler, H. (2003). Correlates of college student gambling in the United States. Journal of American College Health, 52, 53–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ladouceur, R., Dubé, D., & Bujold, A. (1994). Prevalence of pathological gambling and related problems among college students in the Quebec metropolitan area. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 39, 289–293.Google Scholar
  22. Larimer, M. E., & Neighbors, C. (2003). Normative misperception and the impact of descriptive and injunctive norms on college student gambling. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 17, 235–243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Larimer, M. E., Neighbors, C., LaBrie, J., Atkins, D. C., Lewis, M. A., Lee, C. M., et al. (2011). Descriptive drinking norms: For whom does reference group matter? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 72(5), 833–843.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Larimer, M. E., Neighbors, C., Lostutter, T. W. Whiteside, U., Cronce, J. M., Kaysen, D., et al. (In press). Brief motivational feedback vs. cognitive behavioral therapy for disordered gambling: A randomized clinical trial. Addiction.Google Scholar
  25. Lee, C. M., Geisner, I. M., Patrick, M. E., & Neighbors, C. (2010). The social norms of alcohol-related negative consequences. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24(2), 342–348.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lesieur, H. R., & Blume, S. B. (1993). Revising the South Oaks Gambling Screen in different settings. Journal of Gambling Studies, 9, 213–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lesieur, H. R., Cross, J., Frank, M., Welch, M., White, C. M., Rubenstein, G., et al. (1991). Gambling and pathological gambling among university students. Addictive Behaviors, 16, 517–527.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lewis, M. A., & Neighbors, C. (2004). Gender-specific misperceptions of college student drinking norms. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 18, 334–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marks, G., & Miller, N. (1987). Ten years of research on the falseconsensus effect: An empirical and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 72–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McClellan, G. S., & Winters, K. C. (2006). Gambling: An old school new wave challenge for higher education in the twenty-first century. New Directions for Student Services, 113, 9–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Miller, D. T., & McFarland, C. (1991). When social comparison goes awry: The case of pluralistic ignorance. In J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.), Social comparison: Contemporary theory and research (pp. 287–313). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  32. Moore, S. M., & Ohtsuka, K. (1999). The prediction of gambling behavior and problem gambling from attitudes and perceived norms. Social Behavior and Personality, 27, 455–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Neighbors, C., Dillard, A. J., Lewis, M. A., Bergstrom, R. L., & Neil, T. A. (2006a). Normative misperceptions and temporal precedence of perceived norms and drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67, 290–299.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Neighbors, C., LaBrie, J. W., Hummer, J. F., Lewis, M. A., Lee, C. M., Desai, S., et al. (2010). Group identification as a moderator of the relationship between perceived social norms and alcohol consumption. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24(3), 522–528.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Neighbors, C., Larimer, M. E., Lostutter, T. W., & Cronce, J. M. (2001). Exploring college student gambling motives. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18, 361–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Neighbors, C., Lewis, M. A., Bergstrom, R. L., & Larimer, M. E. (2006b). Being controlled by normative Influences: Self-determination as a moderator of a normative feedback alcohol intervention. Health Psychology, 25, 571–579.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Neighbors, C., Lostutter, T. W., Cronce, J. M., & Larimer, M. E. (2002). Exploring college student gambling motivation. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18(4), 361–370.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Neighbors, C., Lostutter, T. W., Whiteside, U., Fossos, N., Walker, D. D., & Larimer, M. E. (2007). Injunctive norms and problem gambling among college students. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23, 259–273.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perkins, H. W. (2002). Social norms and the prevention of alcohol misuse in collegiate contexts. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 14, 164–172.Google Scholar
  40. Prentice, D. A., & Miller, D. T. (1993). Pluralistic ignorance and alcohol use on campus: Some consequences of misperceiving the social norm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 243–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reed, M. B., Lange, J. E., Ketchie, J. M., & Clapp, J. D. (2007). The relationship between social identity, normative information, and college student drinking. Social Influence, 2(4), 269–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Reis, J., & Riley, W. L. (2000). Predictors of college students’ alcohol consumption: Implications for student education. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 161, 282–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Reno, R. R., Cialdini, R. B., & Kallgren, C. A. (1993). The transsituational influence of social norms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 104–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rosnow, R. L., & Rosenthal, R. (1991). If you’re looking at the cell means, you’re not looking at only the interaction (unless all main effects are zero). Psychological Bulletin, 110(3), 574–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schofield, P. E., Pattison, P. E., Hill, D. J., & Borland, R. (2001). The influence of group identification on the adoption of peer group smoking norms. Psychology and Health, 16, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shaffer, H. J., & Hall, M. N. (2001). Updating and refining prevalence estimates of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 82(3), 168–172.Google Scholar
  47. Shaffer, H., Hall, M., Vander Bilt, J., & George, E. (Eds.). (2003). Futures at stake: Youth, gambling, and society. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
  48. Sheeran, P., & Orbell, S. (1999). Augmenting the theory of planned behavior: Roles for anticipated regret and descriptive norms. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29, 2107–2142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Slutske, W. S., Jackson, K. M., & Sher, K. J. (2003). The natural history of problem gambling from age 18 to 29. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112(2), 263–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stuhldreher, W. L., Stuhldreher, T. J., & Forrest, K. Y. (2007). Gambling as an emerging health problem on campus. Journal of American College Health, 56, 75–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Terry, D. J., & Hogg, M. A. (1996). Group norms and the attitude-behavior relationship: A role for group identification. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 8, 776–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. S. (1987). Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  53. Van Empelen, P., Schaalma, H. P., Kok, G., & Jansen, M. R. J. (2001). Predicting condom use with casual and steady sex partners among drug users. Health Education Research: Theory and Practice, 16, 293–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Weinstock, J., Whelan, J. P., & Meyers, A. W. (2004). Behavioral assessment of gambling: Psychometrics of a gambling timeline followback. Psychological Assessment, 16, 72–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Weinstock, J., Whelan, J. P., & Meyers, A. (2008). College students’ gambling behavior: When does it become harmful? Journal of American College Health, 56(5), 513–521.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wickwire, E. M., Whelan, J. P., Meyers, A. W., & Murray, D. M. (2007). Environmental correlates of gambling behavior in urban adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology: An Official Publication of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 35(2), 179–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Winters, K. C., Bengston, P., Door, D., & Stinchfield, R. (1998). Prevalence and risk factors of problem gambling among college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 12, 127–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Winters, K. C., Latimer, W. W., & Stinchfield, R. R. (2002). Clinical issues in the assessment of adolescent alcohol and other drug use. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40(12), 1443–1456.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Winters, K. C., Stinchfield, R. D., Botzet, A., & Slutske, W. S. (2005). Pathways of youth gambling problem severity. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19(1), 104–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn W. Foster
    • 1
  • Clayton Neighbors
    • 1
  • Lindsey M. Rodriguez
    • 1
  • Brenda Lazorwitz
    • 1
  • Rubi Gonzales
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations