The Efficacy of Personalized Feedback Interventions Delivered via Smartphone among At-Risk College Student Gamblers
Keywords:brief interventions, cell phones, college students, problem gambling
At-risk gambling is a public health problem that college students engage in at a disproportionate level compared to the general adult population. Brief interventions that incorporate personalized feedback have been efficacious at reducing gambling and related problems. The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy of personalized feedback-based interventions delivered via smartphone and text message. Participants were 255 students who met our screening criteria for “problem” or “pathological” gambling, and were randomized to one of three conditions: personalized feedback and follow-up targeted text messages (PFB-TXT); personalized feedback and follow-up educational information about gambling (PFB-EDU); and a control condition that received no personalized feedback or follow-up text messages. Dependent variables included percent days abstinent (PDA) from gambling, average amount wagered on a gambling day, and gambling-related problems. Results indicated that the PFB conditions did not have a direct effect relative to the control condition on the dependent variables at the six-month follow-up, but a statistically significant mediated effect on gambling-related problems via gambling norms did emerge at one-month. No differences between the two PFB conditions in terms of direct or indirect effects on the six-month outcome variables were determined. Findings from this study suggest that the personalized text condition did not provide greater efficacy in changing gambling-related outcomes over general educational messages with personalized feedback. To help explain the lack of direct intervention effects, we explored two hypotheses related to our study design and sample of gamblers.
La pratique des jeux de hasard chez les étudiants universitaires constitue un problème de santé publique, car ils s’y adonnent en nombre disproportionné par rapport à la population adulte générale. Les interventions brèves qui incorporent une rétroaction personnalisée (RP) se sont avérées efficaces pour réduire la fréquence de jeu et les problèmes qui s’y rattachent. Ce projet visait à analyser l’efficacité des interventions axées sur la RP, relayées par téléphone intelligent et messagerie texte. 255 étudiants répondant à nos critères de sélection en matière de « problème de jeu » ou de jeu « pathologique » été répartis aléatoirement en trois groupes. Le premier groupe a reçu une RP et des messages textes de suivi; le deuxième groupe, une RP et du matériel d’information sur le jeu; et le troisième, soit le groupe contrôle, n’a reçu ni rétroaction ni message texte. Les variables dépendantes (VD) incluaient : le pourcentage de jours d’abstinence; la somme moyenne misée les jours de pari; ainsi que les problèmes de jeu. Selon nos résultats, la RP n’a aucun effet direct sur les VD au 6e mois de suivi par rapport au groupe contrôle; toutefois, on a constaté au 1er mois un effet de médiation statistiquement significatif d’une variable relative aux habitudes de jeu sur les problèmes de jeu. Par ailleurs, aucune différence n’a été observée entre les deux interventions quant à leur effet direct ou indirect sur les VD au 6e mois. Selon nos conclusions, la RP ne serait pas plus efficace que les messages d’information générale en ce qui touche l’incidence sur les problèmes de jeu. Pour tenter d’expliquer cette absence d’effet de l’intervention directe, nous proposons deux hypothèses, l’une relative à la méthodologie de notre étude et l’autre, à l’échantillon des joueurs.
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