The Personality of Chinese Gamblers

  • Chi Chuen Chan
  • William Wai Lim Li
  • Amy Sau Lam Chiu


Personality refers to a person’s consistent patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving (Pervin et al. 2005). In the 1980s, researchers in addiction proposed that there are certain types of personality and attributes that predispose a person to substance and behavioral addictions. Among these researchers, Alan Lang (1983) put forward the concept of addictive personality. In his description, individuals with this personality style have an inborn and genetic propensity to addictive behaviors. Their notable behavioral characteristics include introversion and enjoyment of solitary pursuits, impulsiveness, and risk-taking. This proposition, though intriguing, is deterministic in nature as the model places the origins and etiology of addictive disorders on the genetic dispositions of a person. It neglects environmental influences, including the roles and attitudes of a person’s family and friends. More importantly, the assertion disregards one’s personal choices and discretion in governing one’s gambling behavior. Scientific studies validating the concept of addictive personality have been very few (Myrseth 2011; Petry 2005). On this issue, Blaszczynski (Blaszczynski and Tempel 2008), in his keynote address at the National Association of Gambling Studies (NAGS), argued that an individual should have control over his/her gambling behavior and decisions. In this vein of thought, the responsibility of gambling should rest upon the judgment and decisions of the gambler rather than the genetic predisposition the person may have. In reviewing the literature on the personality of gamblers, Chan et al. (2016), in their recent book Problem Gambling in Hong Kong and Macao: Etiology, Prevalence and Treatment, came to the conclusion: “Bearing in mind that problem gamblers often come from diverse backgrounds with different motivations for gambling, there should not be one single type of addictive personality as Lang (1983) has proposed” (p. 71). The authors analyzed the personality and development of gamblers from Blaszczynski and Nower’s (2002) model and presented a detailed account on the personality development of gamblers from an ecological-social-cognitive perspective. Nonetheless, the book failed to discuss the similarities and differences between Chinese gamblers and Western gamblers. The current chapter thus intends to fill this gap. Our purposes are to understand the personality characteristics of Chinese gamblers and the empirical differences in personality patterns, if any, between the Chinese gamblers and Western gamblers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chi Chuen Chan
    • 1
  • William Wai Lim Li
    • 1
  • Amy Sau Lam Chiu
    • 1
  1. 1.Upper Iowa University - Hong Kong CenterHong KongHong Kong

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