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Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy for Problem Gamblers who Gamble over the Internet: A Controlled Study

Nicholas Harris, Dwight Mazmanian

Abstract


Several studies have found higher rates of problem gambling among Internet gamblers than non-Internet gamblers. Because of easy access and convenience, along with other gaming characteristics, many researchers in the field have advanced the argument that Internet gambling is potentially more addictive and problematic than land-based gambling activities. However, research examining the efficacy of treatments for problem gamblers who gamble over the Internet has not yet been conducted. The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy of group cognitive behavioural therapy for self-identified problem Internet gamblers. Thirty-two participants were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (n = 16) or wait list (delayed treatment) comparison group (n = 16). Results indicated that the treatment was efficacious in improving three of the four dependent variables from pre- to post-test/treatment: number of DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling endorsed, perception of control over gambling, and number of sessions gambled. No significant pre- to post-test/treatment difference was found between groups on desire to gamble. Groups were combined to examine treatment outcome over time, with results showing significant pre- to post-treatment and pre- to three-month post-treatment improvement for all four dependent variables.


Keywords


problem gambling; disordered gambling; significant other; treatment; CRAFT

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2016.33.10

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