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It’s a sure bet you’re going to die : existential terror promotes gambling urges in problem players
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Matthew Rockloff, Matthew Browne, En Li, T O'Shea
Human beings must come to the uncomfortable recognition of the inevitability of their ultimate death through accident, illness or old age. Terror Management Theory (Greenberg, Pysczcynski & Solomon, 1986) proposes that people manage their existential anxiety by investment in a belief that they are an important member of an immortal culture that ultimately survives them. By random assignment, internet survey respondents (408 male and 393 female participants, aged M = 53.8 SD = 12.9) were cued to think about either: 1) their home and accidental breakage insurance (control condition), or 2) their life and funeral insurance (death cue condition). Respondents with severe gambling problems who were cued to think about their eventual death had significantly greater urges to gamble (Raylu & Oei, 2004) than predicted by the null model. The results of the survey conform to the proposition that gambling plays an important role in problem gamblers’ management of existential concerns.