Students recruited from psychology undergraduate university populations are commonly used in psychology research, including gambling studies. However, the extent to which the use of this subpopulation produces findings that can be extrapolated to other groups is questionable. The present study was designed to compare results from university-recruited psychology student gamblers to those obtained from a sample of gamblers recruited from the general population that also included students. An online survey measuring gambling behavior and Internet gambling, attitudes and knowledge about gambling and problem gambling severity was posted on websites accessed by gamblers. Participants were recruited from two sources, a psychology undergraduate university population (n = 461) and online websites (n = 4,801). Results showed university-recruited students differed significantly from both adults and students recruited from the general population in respect to demographic variables and gambling behavior. Psychology undergraduate students were younger, more likely to be female, and had lower incomes. When relevant demographic variables were controlled, psychology undergraduate students were found to gamble less frequently, at different times, and to be at lower-risk for gambling-related problems, but had more irrational beliefs and more negative attitudes towards gambling than gamblers recruited from the general population. Results suggest that caution should be used in extrapolating findings from research using university-recruited psychology student gamblers to wide community populations due to differences related to gambling thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.
Gainsbury, SM, Russell, A & Blaszczynski 2014, 'Are psychology university student gamblers representative of non-university students and general gamblers? a comparative analysis', Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 30, no 1, pp. 11-25.
Published version available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10899-012-9334-9