Robert J Williams

University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

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Publications (47)40.17 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Major depression is among the most common comorbid conditions in problem gambling. However, little is known about the effects of comorbid depression on problem gambling. The present study examined the prevalence of current major depression among problem gamblers (N = 105) identified from a community sample of men and women in Alberta, and examined group differences in gambling severity, escape motivation for gambling, family functioning, childhood trauma, and personality traits across problem gamblers with and without comorbid depression. The prevalence of major depression among the sample of problem gamblers was 32.4 %. Compared to problem gamblers without depression (n = 71), problem gamblers with comorbid depression (n = 34) reported more severe gambling problems, greater history of childhood abuse and neglect, poorer family functioning, higher levels of neuroticism, and lower levels of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Furthermore, the problem gamblers with comorbid depression had greater levels of childhood abuse and neglect, worse family functioning, higher neuroticism, and lower agreeableness and conscientiousness than a comparison sample of recreational gamblers with depression (n = 160). These findings underscore the need to address comorbid depression in assessment and treatment of problem gambling and for continued research on how problem gambling is related to frequently co-occurring disorders such as depression.
    08/2014;
  • Ki-Joon Back, Robert J Williams, Choong-Ki Lee
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    ABSTRACT: Most research on the assessment, epidemiology, and treatment of problem gambling has occurred in Western jurisdictions. This potentially limits the cross-cultural validity of problem gambling assessment instruments as well as etiological models of problem gambling. The primary objective of the present research was to investigate the reliability and validity of three problem gambling assessment instruments within a South Korean context. A total of 4,330 South Korean adults participated in a comprehensive assessment of their gambling behavior that included the administration of the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling (NODS), the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI), and the Problem and Pathological Gambling Measure (PPGM). Cronbach alpha showed that all three instruments had good internal consistency. Concurrent validity was established by the significant associations observed between scores on the instruments and measures of gambling involvement (number of gambling formats engaged in; frequency of gambling; and gambling expenditure). Most importantly, kappa statistics showed that all instruments have satisfactory classification accuracy against clinical assessment of problem gambling conducted by South Korean clinicians (NODS κ = .66; PPGM κ = .62; CPGI κ = .51). These results confirm that Western-derived operationalizations of problem gambling have applicability in a South Korean setting.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 01/2014; · 1.28 Impact Factor
  • Robert J. Williams, Rachel A. Volberg
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    ABSTRACT: Improved methodology was used to re-examine the weak correspondence between problem and pathological gamblers identified in population surveys and subsequent classification of these individuals in clinical interviews. The SOGS-R, the CPGI, the NODS and the Problem and Pathological Gambling Measure (PPGM), as well as questions about gambling participation and expenditures, were administered to a total of 7272 adults. Two clinicians then assessed each person's status, based on comprehensive written profiles derived from these questionnaire responses. Instrument classification was then compared to clinical classification. All four instruments correctly classified most non-problem gamblers (i.e. had good to excellent sensitivity, specificity and negative predictive power). However, the PPGM was the only instrument with good classification of problem gamblers (i.e. excellent sensitivity and positive predictive power). The CPGI and SOGS-R had weak positive predictive power and the NODS had only adequate sensitivity and positive predictive power. Improvement in the classification accuracy of the CPGI occurred when a 5+ cut-off was used and when a 4+ cut-off was used with the SOGS. In general, the classification accuracy of the NODS, SOGS and CPGI is better than prior research suggested but overall accuracy is still modest. With adjusted cut-offs, all three instruments are reasonably congruent with clinical ratings.
    International Gambling Studies 01/2014; 14(1).
  • Yale D. Belanger, Robert J. Williams, Jennifer N. Arthur
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    ABSTRACT: The Province of Alberta in 2001 implemented the First Nations Gaming Policy (FNGP) to improve First Nations development potential by permitting the construction of reserve casinos. This article argues that during the policy development stages provincial and First Nations leaders failed to consider the geographic placement of reserve communities, both in terms of where casinos would be placed and how gaming revenues would ultimately be distributed. Therefore, a policy intended to assist with First Nations economic rejuvenation in Alberta has benefitted a small proportion of First Nations while exacerbating regional economic difficulties the policy was in part calculated to ameliorate. The authors recommend revisiting the FNGP to establish a more equitable revenue distribution formula, thus resulting in a greater distribution of gaming revenues to a larger number of First Nations. La production des disparités régionales dans la quête de l’égalitééconomique : Une évaluation de la politique sur les jeux de hasard et d’argent des Premières Nations de l’Alberta, 2006–2010 C’est en 2001 que la province de l’Alberta a mis en œuvre sa politique sur les jeux de hasard et d’argent des Premières Nations; le but était de promouvoir le développement des Premières Nations en autorisant la construction de casinos dans les réserves. Cet article fait valoir que, dans le cadre du processus d’élaboration de la politique, les dirigeants de la province et des Premières Nations ont omis d’examiner la situation géographique des collectivités dans les réserves, autant au niveau de la localisation des casinos que des modes de distribution des revenus des jeux. Si le but affirmé de la politique visait à améliorer les conditions économiques des Premières Nations en Alberta, elle a profitéà une fraction de la population des Premières Nations et a fait en sorte que les difficultés économiques à l’échelle régionale se soient aggravées. Les auteurs suggèrent de revoir la politique sur les jeux de hasard et d’argent des Premières Nations dans le but d’assurer une formule qui aura pour effet de distribuer les revenus obtenus des jeux de hasard et d’argent à un nombre plus élevé de Premières Nations.
    Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien 03/2013; 57(1). · 0.56 Impact Factor
  • Robert J Williams, Choong-Ki Lee, Ki Joon Back
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To establish the current prevalence of gambling and problem gambling in South Korea and to determine the associated demographic and game play patterns. METHODS: Administration of a gambling survey over the phone to 4,000 randomly selected South Korean adults (19+), supplemented by an online survey of 4,330 members of a South Korean online panel. RESULTS: The past year prevalence of gambling among South Korean adults was 41.8 %. The past year engagement in individual forms of gambling was 36.2 % for lotteries and instant lotteries; 12.0 % for social gambling; 2.3 % for sports betting; 1.5 % for casino gambling; 1.5 % for internet gambling; and 1.1 % for horse, bicycle, or motor boat betting. The past year prevalence of problem gambling was 0.5 %. Logistic regression identified the best predictors of problem gambling to be: having a greater number of gambling fallacies; gambling on the internet; betting on horses, bicycling, or motor boat racing; social gambling; male gender; mental health problems; sports betting; motivation for gambling (gambling to escape); casino gambling; and lower income. CONCLUSIONS: The past year prevalence of gambling (41.8 %) and problem gambling (0.5 %) in South Korea is low compared to other countries, especially relative to other Asian jurisdictions. This relatively low prevalence of gambling is likely related to the very strong negative attitudes toward it, the low participation by females, and restricted access. The low prevalence of problem gambling is likely related to the relatively low prevalence of gambling and restricted access to continuous forms of gambling. The variables that are predictive of problem gambling in South Korea are quite similar to those found in other countries with a couple of important differences.
    Social Psychiatry 09/2012; · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • Yale D. Belanger, Robert J. Williams, Jennifer N. Arthur
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    ABSTRACT: This article argues that socio-economic analyses of reserve casino projects, specifically those studies structured to offer an overall assessment of success or failure, need to embrace mixed methods approaches. In particular, eliciting community-based perspectives through qualitative data gathering techniques is essential to provide a level of context required to better understand the casinos' overall influence. To date researchers tend to rely on First Nations leaders projections and assessments as the baseline data for their analysis. This article compares the impacts of two casinos in northern Alberta communities, and shows how focus groups provided a grassroots perspective of the casinos' positive and negative impacts that were not captured by the quantitative data.
    American Review of Canadian Studies. 01/2012; 42(1):1-19.
  • Yale D. Belanger, Robert J. Williams
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    ABSTRACT: En 2001, l'Alberta a mis en place une politique, la First Nations Gaming Policy, qui permet aux Autochtones de construire des casinos dans les réserves, mais qui stipule que 30% des revenus du jeu réalisés par ces casinos doivent être versés au gouvernement qui les utilise ensuite à des fins caritatives dans la province. Durant les six années qui ont suivi l'ouverture du premier casino sur une réserve, presque toutes les nations autochtones ont continué de subir un retard, sur le plan socio-économique, par rapport au reste de la population albertaine ; et les organisations caritatives provinciales, pour leur part, dépendent de plus en plus des revenus des casinos des réserves. Dans cet article, nous analysons l'impact des cinq casinos autochtones provinciaux sur les communautés où ils sont implantés, ainsi que les sommes que les prétendus bénéficiaires de ces casinos perdent en fait chaque année à cause de la règle qui leur impose de verser 30 % des revenus au gouvernement. The province of Alberta implemented the First Nations Gaming Policy in 2001, permitting First Nations to construct reserve casinos. A policy provision insisted that First Nations turn over 30 percent of casino gambling revenues to Alberta for use by provincial charities. In the six years since the first reserve casino opened its doors, almost all provincial First Nations continue to lag behind mainstream Alberta society from a socio-economic perspective, while provincial charitable organizations have increasingly come to depend on reserve casino gambling revenues. This research examines the impact of the five provincial First Nations casinos in First Nation communities and the revenues these purported beneficiaries are losing annually through the 30 percent provincial allocation.
    Canadian Public Policy 01/2012; 38(4):551-572. · 0.38 Impact Factor
  • Yale D. Belanger, Robert J. Williams
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    ABSTRACT: There is a surprising paucity of information about urban Aboriginal gambling behaviours and practices, considering that the urban Aboriginal community is the fastest-growing demographic group in Canada and that indigenous people have some of the highest rates of gambling and problem gambling. Interpreting the focus group findings from First Nations and urban Aboriginal participants in Alberta, this study provides insights into urban Aboriginal and rural First Nations attitudes to gambling and the perceived value of the provincial First Nations gaming industry. Although the First Nations focus groups were aware of gambling's associated positive and negative outcomes, they were generally supportive of their communities' decision to pursue casinos. The urban Aboriginal focus group, however, identified little positive about the casinos, even if its participants supported the First Nations' capacity to pursue casino development. These tensions demand policymakers' attention.
    International Gambling Studies 01/2012;
  • Robert T. Wood, Robert J. Williams
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    ABSTRACT: Overcoming the methodological limitations of many previous studies, the present study employs a two-phased approach to data collection, and a weighted approach to data analysis, thereby obtaining survey data from 1954 Internet gamblers and 5967 non-Internet gamblers. Using this data, the authors examine: (1) the comparative demographic and health characteristics of Internet versus land-based gamblers; (2) the characteristics predictive of Internet gambling; (3) the game-play patterns of Internet gamblers; (4) the comparative gambling expenditures of Internet versus land-based gamblers; and (5) the comparative rate of problem gambling among Internet versus land-based gamblers. The article concludes with a discussion of the methodological implications the present study holds for future research. Moreover, in light of the key finding that Internet gamblers are three to four times more likely to have a gambling problem, the article concludes with a discussion of relevant theoretical and policy implications.
    New Media &amp Society 11/2011; 13(7):1123-1141. · 1.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Problem gambling is significantly more prevalent in forensic populations than in the general population. Although some previous work suggests that gambling and antisocial behavior are related, the extent and nature of this relationship is unclear. Both gambling and antisocial behavior are forms of risk-taking, and may therefore share common determinants. We investigated whether individual differences in personality traits associated with risk-taking, the Big Five personality traits, and antisocial tendencies predicted gambling and antisocial behavior among 180 male students recruited for a study of gambling (35.0% non-problem gamblers, 36.7% low-risk gamblers, 21.7% problem gamblers, and 6.7% pathological gamblers). All forms of gambling and antisocial behavior were significantly correlated. Personality traits associated with risk-acceptance explained a significant portion of the variance in problem gambling, general gambling involvement, and all forms of antisocial behavior. Antisocial tendencies (aggression and psychopathic tendencies) explained a significant portion of additional variance in severe antisocial behavior but not moderate or minor antisocial behavior. When controlling for personality traits associated with risk-acceptance, the relationship between gambling and antisocial behavior was greatly diminished. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that gambling and antisocial behavior are associated because they are, in part, different manifestations of similar personality traits.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 09/2011; 27(3):409-26. · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the impact of gambling above the low-risk gambling limits developed by Currie et al. (2006) on future harm. To identify demographic, behavioural, clinical and environmental factors that predict the shift from low- to high-risk gambling habits over time. Longitudinal cohort study of gambling habits in community-dwelling adults. Alberta, Canada. A total of 809 adult gamblers who completed the time 1 and time 2 assessments separated by a 14-month interval. Low-risk gambling limits were defined as gambling no more than three times per month, spending no more than CAN$1000 per year on gambling and spending less than 1% of gross income on gambling. Gambling habits, harm from gambling and gambler characteristics were assessed by the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. Ancillary measures of substance abuse, gambling environment, major depression, impulsivity and personality traits assessed the influence of other risk factors on the escalation of gambling intensity. Gamblers classified as low risk at time 1 and shifted into high-risk gambling by time 2 were two to three times more likely to experience harm compared to gamblers who remained low risk at both assessments. Factors associated with the shift from low- to high-risk gambling behaviour from time 1 to time 2 included male gender, tobacco use, older age, having less education, having friends who gamble and playing electronic gaming machines. An increase in the intensity of gambling behaviour is associated with greater likelihood of future gambling related harm in adults.
    Addiction 08/2011; 107(2):400-6. · 4.58 Impact Factor
  • Yale D. Belanger, Robert J. Williams, Jennifer N. Arthur
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    ABSTRACT: To date 17 First Nations have introduced casinos as an economic strategy to help mitigate existing socio-economic disparities in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, while the provincial Nova Scotia First Nations operate 'Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) palaces' (i.e., no table games). Although the economic benefits of Native casinos in the United States are well documented, there is very little research to determine whether the same effects exist in Canada. The present research seeks to partly fill this void by evaluating the impact of the recent introduction of casinos to Alberta First Nation (i.e., reserve) communities. Findings show that there is significant variability in the economic benefits between communities. Nonetheless, it is clear that, in general, the introduction of casinos in Alberta has broad economic benefits to Alberta First Nations.
    The Journal of Gambling Business and Economics. 04/2011; 5(1):23-46.
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    ABSTRACT: Albertans representing five age cohorts (13–15, 18–20, 23–25, 43–45 and 63–65) were surveyed (n = 1809) to assess their attitudes toward gambling in general, gambling in Alberta and legal gambling's impacts in the province. Age, gender and problem gambling status were found to be reliable predictors of gambling attitudes in that younger male, non-problem gamblers were most approving of the activity. Results also indicate that Albertans are ambivalent about gambling and that gambling and public policy are mis-aligned to the extent that gambling's harms are thought to outweigh its benefits. Likely reasons for the gap between gambling policy and public opinion are that gambling issues lack the salience of ongoing high-profile topics such as the economy, health care, education and the environment, and gambling dependent special interest groups can exert considerable influence on gambling policy in ways that may not harmonise with the public interest.
    International Gambling Studies 04/2011; 11(1):57-79.
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    ABSTRACT: Predictors of adolescent gambling behavior were examined in a sample of 436 males and females (ages 13-16). A biopsychosocial model was used to identify key variables that differentiate between non-gambling and gambling adolescents. Logistic regression found that, as compared to adolescent male non-gamblers, adolescent male gamblers were older, had more conflict in their family, were more likely to have used drugs, and have peers that gamble. Compared to adolescent female non-gamblers, adolescent female gamblers had more attention and thought problems, and scored higher on rule-breaking. For both males and females, religiosity was a protective factor against involvement in gambling. Some of the results are consistent with previous research, while some of these findings are unique to this study. These results shed light on factors to consider when developing programs to combat the negative impacts of gambling on adolescents.
    Journal of Adolescence 03/2011; 34(5):841-51. · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • Yale D. Belanger, Robert J. Williams
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    ABSTRACT: Buoyed by the success of two large-scale bingos in 1993 Alberta’s First Nations initiated plans to construct reserve casinos to mitigate economic hardships. That year Alberta commenced with neoliberal reforms to slash the provincial budget. This paper explores how Alberta's acquisition of regulatory authority over First Nation's gaming led to the creation of a bureaucracy responsible for oversight of reserve gaming, the costs of which were borne by reserve casino revenues thereby resulting in no additional taxation of non-Native Albertans.
    Business and Politics 01/2011; 13(4):4-4.
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    ABSTRACT: The association between childhood maltreatment and gambling problems was examined in a community sample of men and women (N = 1,372). As hypothesized, individuals with gambling problems reported greater childhood maltreatment than individuals without gambling problems. Childhood maltreatment predicted severity of gambling problems and frequency of gambling even when other individual and social factors were controlled including symptoms of alcohol and other drug use disorders, family environment, psychological distress, and symptoms of antisocial disorder. In contrast to findings in treatment-seeking samples, women with gambling problems did not report greater maltreatment than men with gambling problems. These results underscore the need for both increased prevention of childhood maltreatment and increased sensitivity towards trauma issues in gambling treatment programs for men and women.
    Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 09/2010; 24(3):548-54. · 2.09 Impact Factor
  • Robert J Williams, Robert T Wood, Shawn R Currie
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    ABSTRACT: School-based prevention programs are an important component of problem gambling prevention, but empirically effective programs are lacking. Stacked Deck is a set of 5-6 interactive lessons that teach about the history of gambling; the true odds and "house edge"; gambling fallacies; signs, risk factors, and causes of problem gambling; and skills for good decision making and problem solving. An overriding theme of the program is to approach life as a "smart gambler" by determining the odds and weighing the pros versus cons of your actions. A total of 949 grade 9-12 students in 10 schools throughout southern Alberta received the program and completed baseline and follow-up measures. These students were compared to 291 students in 4 control schools. Four months after receiving the program, students in the intervention group had significantly more negative attitudes toward gambling, improved knowledge about gambling and problem gambling, improved resistance to gambling fallacies, improved decision making and problem solving, decreased gambling frequency, and decreased rates of problem gambling. There was no change in involvement in high risk activities or money lost gambling. These results indicate that Stacked Deck is a promising curriculum for the prevention of problem gambling.
    The Journal of Prevention 06/2010; 31(3):109-25.
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    Sandeep Mishra, Martin L. Lalumière, Robert J. Williams
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    ABSTRACT: Substantial evidence suggests that various forms of risk-taking co-occur within individuals. We examined whether indicators of risk-propensity, including self-reported personality traits, laboratory-based behavioral measures of risk, and self-reported attitudes toward risk in various domains were associated with general gambling involvement and problem gambling behavior in a sample of university students, using an extreme-groups design. Personality traits and attitudes toward risk were correlated with both problem gambling and general gambling involvement. Behavioral measures were positively correlated with general gambling involvement. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that both problem gambling and general gambling involvement loaded on single factors with other measures of risk, suggesting that gambling represents one expression of a general propensity for risk-taking. Future study of the causes of gambling behavior may benefit from integration within a more general framework of risk-taking.
    Personality and Individual Differences. 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the situational factors associated with gambling behavior. We induced 180 male participants (mean age: 21.6) into a positive, negative, or neutral mood prior to gambling on a video lottery terminal (VLT). While gambling, participants were observed by either a male peer, female peer, or no one. Induced mood had no effect on gambling behavior. Participants induced into a negative mood prior to gambling, however, reported more positive moods after gambling, whereas those with positive and neutral moods reported more negative moods after gambling. Participants observed by either a male or female peer spent less time gambling on the VLT compared to those not observed. Participants observed by a female peer lost less money relative to the other observer conditions. Degree of problem gambling in the last year had little influence on these effects. Some practical implications of these findings are discussed.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 11/2009; 26(3):373-86. · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    Robert J Williams, Rachel A Volberg
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the impact of survey administration format, survey description, and gambling behaviour thresholds on obtained population prevalence rates of problem gambling. A total of 3,028 adults were surveyed about their gambling behaviour, with half of these surveys administered face-to-face and half over the phone, and half of the surveys being described as a "gambling survey" and half as a "health and recreation" survey. Population prevalence rates of problem gambling using the CPGI were 133% higher in "gambling" versus "health and recreation" surveys and 55% higher in face-to-face administration compared to telephone administration. If people with less than $300 in annual gambling expenditures are not asked questions about problem gambling, then the obtained problem gambling prevalence rate is 42% lower. When all of these elements are aligned they result in markedly different problem gambling prevalence rates (4.1% versus 0.8%). The mechanisms for these effects and recommended procedures for future prevalence studies are discussed.
    International Gambling Studies 01/2009; 9(2).

Publication Stats

569 Citations
40.17 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • University of Lethbridge
      • • Faculty of Health Sciences
      • • Department of Psychology
      • • Department of Sociology
      • • Department of Addictions Counselling
      Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  • 2008–2011
    • The University of Calgary
      • Department of Psychology
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2000
    • ECO Canada
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada