Deakin University

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Development and evaluation of an online gambling self-directed program: Effective integration into existing services

posted on 2017-07-01, 00:00 authored by Nicki DowlingNicki Dowling, Stephanie MerkourisStephanie Merkouris, Simone Rodda, D Smith, T Lavis, D Lubman, P Harvey, J Cunningham, M Battersby
Development and evaluation of an online gambling self-directed program: Effective integration into existing services






Research statement

As only a small proportion of gamblers access support face-to-face, there is a need to examine alternative models of treatment such as those capitalising in advances in technology. These services are typically shorter, more cost effective, reach more individuals and are less stigmatising. These interventions can range from being purely self-directed interventions (no input from a professional) (PSD) to treatments involving a health care professional (GSD). This project aims to develop an online self-directed cognitive behavioural program for gambling (GAMBLINGLESS FOR LIFE) and investigate the effectiveness of the program to GSD conditions compared to PSD conditions. Secondary aims were to explore the profile of users, identify subgroups who can benefit dependent on moderators, predictors of treatment and engagement and identify the processes responsible for change in outcomes following the program. A third aim was to explore the acceptability and feasibility of the program by both users and guides. Participants were randomised to the PSD (n=105) or the GSD (n=101) group for the 8-week online program. The results revealed no statistically significant differences between the PSD and the GSD conditions on almost all outcome measures at the 8 or 12 week evaluations. However, participants in the GSD group reported a significantly greater reduction in days gambled at the 12-week evaluation and a higher rate of low-intensity help-seeking at the 8 week evaluation. There were also statistically significant improvements in gambling symptom severity, gambling urges, gambling frequency, and psychological distress within treatment groups at the 8- and 12-week evaluations. Significant predictors of treatment outcomes included psychological distress and readiness to change. The GAMBLINGLESS program was positively evaluated by the majority of users. This is the first study in Australia to examine the effectiveness of a guided online self-directed gambling intervention.

Publication classification

A6 Research report/technical paper


Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.

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