Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations

Intention to employ behavioral tactics to moderate gambling: Effects of gambling history and imagined mood

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Harold Rosenberg (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Richard Anderson (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Joshua Grubbs (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Virginia Dubasik (Other)


The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of imagined emotional state (i.e., happy versus sad) on gamblers intention to use moderation tactics while at a casino. Using prior research, feedback from researchers of problem gambling, and a focus group of problem gamblers, I developed a list of 16 tactics an individual could use to moderate his or her gambling while at a casino. Next, I used the Amazon Mechanical Turk online subject pool to recruit 400 gamblers who self-identified as having a current gambling problem and who had gambled at a casino in the past month. Participants randomized to both experimental conditions were young (Happy Condition, M= 32.5, SD= 8.1; Sad Condition, M=34.1, SD=9.6); mostly Caucasian (more than 70% in both conditions); employed (more than 90% in both conditions), and college-educated (more than 89% in both conditions). After controlling for trait impulsivity and endorsement of gambling fallacies, imagined emotional state did not impact participants self-reported intentions to engage in moderation tactics while at a casino. Furthermore, there was no significant interaction between participants problem gambling status (i.e., lifetime problem or non-problem gambler) and imagined emotional state on self-reported intentions to use moderation tactics. There was a significant effect of participants problem gambling status, such that lifetime problem gamblers in this study reported significantly lower intention to use eight of the 16 specific moderation tactics. These results suggest that problem gamblers may require interventions which target both their intentions to moderate their gambling and their actual gambling behavior while gambling at a casino.