Robert J Williams

University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Are you Robert J Williams?

Claim your profile

Publications (55)60.28 Total impact

  • Source
    Carrie A. Leonard · Robert J. Williams
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Poker is characterized as a “mixed” game: a game that includes both skill and chance components. But what individual differences are characteristic of skilled poker players? No previous study has sought to evaluate the full scope of characteristics contributing to playing skill. The purpose of this study was to fill this void by attempting to comprehensively examine the individual characteristics associated with good poker players. Results from a sample of undergraduate students and community members (n = 100) showed that good players are more likely to be male, to have lower susceptibility to gambling fallacies, a greater tolerance for financial risk, superior social information processing skills, and less openness to aesthetic and imaginative experience. Evidence from this study also indicates that having sufficient levels of most of these attributes is more important for poker success than having exceptional strength in just one or two of these areas. © 2015, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Gambling Issues
  • Choong-Ki Lee · Ki-Joon Back · Robert J. Williams · Sung-Sik Ahn
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to compare the influence of two survey modes – telephone random digit dialling (RDD) and stratified sampling of an online panel – on Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI) scores and co-morbidities. An identical gambling survey was administered to 4000 South Koreans selected via random dialling of cell phone numbers and to 4330 South Korean members of an online panel. The online panelists were found to have significantly higher levels of tobacco use, drug or alcohol problems and mental health problems, higher employment status and lower happiness levels. However, even when controlling for these variables, CPGI scores for the online panel were significantly higher than those for the telephone interview. This appears to be due to higher levels of pathology among online panelists combined with potentially more valid self-reports due to enhanced anonymity.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · International Gambling Studies
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Resolving the theoretical controversy on the labeling of an increasing number of excessive behaviors as behavioral addictions may also be facilitated by more empirical data on these behavioral problems. For instance, an essential issue to the classification of psychiatric disorders is information on their natural course. However, longitudinal research on the chronic vs. episodic nature of behavioral addictions is scarce. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to provide data on prevalence, substance use comorbidity, and five-year trajectories of six excessive behaviors¿namely exercising, sexual behavior, shopping, online chatting, video gaming, and eating.Methods Analyses were based on the data of the Quinte Longitudinal Study, where a cohort of 4,121 adults from Ontario, Canada was followed for 5 years (2006 to 2011). The response rate was 21.3%, while retention rate was 93.9%. To assess the occurrence of each problem behavior, a single self-diagnostic question asked people whether their over-involvement in the behavior had caused significant problems for them in the past 12 months. To assess the severity of each problem behavior reported, the Behavioral Addiction Measure was administered. A mixed design ANOVA was used to investigate symptom trajectories over time for each problem behavior and whether these symptom trajectories varied as a function of sex.ResultsThe large majority of people reported having problematic over-involvement for just one of these behaviors and just in a single time period. A main effect of time was found for each problem behavior, indicating a moderately strong decrease in symptom severity across time. The time x sex interaction was insignificant in each model indicating that the decreasing trend is similar for males and females. The data also showed that help seeking was very low in the case of excessive sexual behavior, shopping, online chatting, and video gaming but substantially more prevalent in the case of excessive eating and exercising.Conclusions The present results indicate that self-identified excessive exercising, sexual behavior, shopping, online chatting, video gaming, and/or eating tend to be fairly transient for most people. This aspect of the results is inconsistent with conceptualizations of addictions as progressive in nature, unless treated.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · BMC Psychiatry
  • Source
    Carrie A Leonard · Robert J Williams

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
  • Carrie A. Leonard · Robert J. Williams · Robert Hann

    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology
  • Carrie A. Leonard · Robert J. Williams

    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology
  • [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.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of Gambling Behavior
  • Source
    Carrie A Leonard · Jaime Staples · Robert J Williams
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Existing research has demonstrated that poker is a game predominated by skill. Little is known about the specific characteristics of good poker players however, likely due in part to the lack of a readily available measure of poker skill. In the absence of an available and easily administered poker skill measure, laboratory studies of poker player attributes have used questionable methodologies to assess skill including peer- and self-report. The aim of the current research was to create a valid, reliable, and easily administered measure of poker playing skill. A sample of 100 University of Lethbridge undergraduate students and Lethbridge community members completed the newly created Poker Skills Measure (PSM) and an objective measure of poker playing performance (playing virtual poker). External validity of the measure was demonstrated via significant associations-expected and detected-between the PSM and the objective playing measure. Specifically, significant positive associations were found between PSM scores and hands won, pre- and post flop aggression, and a significant negative relationship was detected between PSM scores and number of hands played. Within the current sample, acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's α = .82) and very good test re-test reliability (r = .78) was achieved with the 35 item PSM. Future directions are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Gambling Behavior
  • Ki-Joon Back · Robert J Williams · Choong-Ki Lee
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Gambling Behavior
  • Robert J. Williams · Rachel A. Volberg
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · International Gambling Studies
  • Jennifer N. Arthur · Robert J. Williams · Yale D. Belanger
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the main justifications used for the expansion of legal gambling is that gambling provides increased revenue to governments and community groups. However, critics argue that the social costs of legal gambling offset these benefits. One particularly controversial social cost of gambling is the impact that gambling has on crime. The academic literature is split with as many studies showing an increase in crime due to gambling as those that show no impact. The current study investigated how increased legal gambling availability has affected crime in Alberta. Four sources of data were examined: self-reports of gambling-related crime among problem gamblers in population surveys; gambling-related crime in police incident reports; uniform crime statistics from Statistics Canada; and criminal offences as recorded by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). The most unambiguous findings of this study are that gambling-related crime constitutes a very small percentage of all crime; crime that is gambling related tends to be non-violent property crime; and increased legal gambling availability has significantly decreased rates of illegal gambling. In terms of the impact of legalized gambling on overall crime in Alberta, the evidence would suggest that legalized gambling likely has a minor or negligible impact.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Source
    Yale D. Belanger · Robert J. Williams · Jennifer N. Arthur
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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. © Canadian Association of Geographers / L'Association canadienne des g'éographes.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien
  • Yale D. Belanger · Robert J. Williams
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Canadian Public Policy
  • Robert J Williams · Choong-Ki Lee · Ki Joon Back
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Social Psychiatry
  • Yale D. Belanger · Robert J. Williams
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · International Gambling Studies
  • Yale D. Belanger · Robert J. Williams · Jennifer N. Arthur
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · The American Review of Canadian Studies
  • Robert T. Wood · Robert J. Williams
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · New Media & Society
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Journal of Gambling Behavior
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Addiction
  • Yale D. Belanger · Robert J. Williams · Jennifer N. Arthur
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2011

Publication Stats

1k Citations
60.28 Total Impact Points


  • 2002-2015
    • University of Lethbridge
      • • Faculty of Health Sciences
      • • Department of Psychology
      • • Department of Sociology
      • • Department of Addictions Counselling
      Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  • 2011
    • Technische Universität Dresden
      Dresden, Saxony, Germany
  • 2010
    • The University of Calgary
      • Department of Psychology
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada