The main objective of this research was to ascertain whether there is cognitive dissonance among Chinese gamblers as a consequence of gambling while holding negative attitudes toward gambling, which are inherent in their cultural values. Using the behavioral variable of actual gambling and an attitudinal variable of negative beliefs about gambling, a third, practical measure of cognitive dissonance was obtained. By means of questionnaires completed by 200 adult Chinese respondents, these measures were examined in relation to three independent variables used in the gambling literature. Cognitive dissonance was expected to have significant negative correlations with traditional Chinese values and family emotional support, and a significant positive correlation with neuroticism. Cognitive dissonance was also examined for its relation to two personal outcome measures, namely, self-actualization and life satisfaction. The results revealed that the family support, traditional values, and neuroticism variables were correlated with gambling as expected, confirming the validity of the new measures; and that cognitive dissonance does indeed exist among Chinese gamblers, with increased gambling strongly associated with more cognitive dissonance. The research revealed that Chinese gamblers, even though they do gamble, also hold negative attitudes toward gambling. This provides a new perspective on studying Chinese gambling, and offers a possible strategy to help Chinese pathological gamblers, that is, by advising them that their negative beliefs about gambling reflect the positive moral values of their traditional society, an approach that may reduce their desire to gamble.
Robert Taormina, University of Macau, Macao
Blair Chong, University of Macau, Macao
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