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13.09.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2018

Journal of Gambling Studies 2/2018

Efficacy of a Self-Help Treatment for At-Risk and Pathological Gamblers

Journal of Gambling Studies > Ausgabe 2/2018
Catherine Boudreault, Isabelle Giroux, Christian Jacques, Annie Goulet, Hélène Simoneau, Robert Ladouceur


Available evidence suggests that self-help treatments may reduce problem gambling severity but inconsistencies of results across clinical trials leave the extent of their benefits unclear. Moreover, no self-help treatment has yet been validated within a French Canadian setting. The current study therefore assesses the efficacy of a French language self-help treatment including three motivational telephone interviews spread over an 11-week period and a cognitive-behavioral self-help workbook. At-risk and pathological gamblers were randomly assigned to the treatment group (n = 31) or the waiting list (n = 31). Relative to the waiting list, the treatment group showed a statistically significant reduction in the number of DSM-5 gambling disorder criteria met, gambling habits, and gambling consequences at Week 11. Perceived self-efficacy and life satisfaction also significantly improved after 11 weeks for the treatment group, but not for the waiting list group. At Week 11, 13% of participants had dropped out of the study. All significant changes reported for the treatment group were maintained throughout 1, 6 and 12-month follow-ups. Results support the efficacy of the self-help treatment to reduce problem gambling severity, gambling behaviour and to improve overall functioning among a sample of French Canadian problem gamblers over short, medium and long term. Findings from this study lend support to the appropriateness of self-help treatments for problem gamblers and help clarify inconsistencies found in the literature. The low dropout rate is discussed with respect to the advantages of the self-help format. Clinical and methodological implications of the results are put forth.

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