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A Smartphone-delivered ecological momentary intervention for problem gambling (GamblingLess: Curb Your Urge): Single-Arm acceptability and feasibility trial

Hawker, Chloe, Merkouris, Stephanie, Youssef, George and Dowling, Nicole 2021, A Smartphone-delivered ecological momentary intervention for problem gambling (GamblingLess: Curb Your Urge): Single-Arm acceptability and feasibility trial, Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. e25786-e25786, doi: 10.2196/25786.

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Title A Smartphone-delivered ecological momentary intervention for problem gambling (GamblingLess: Curb Your Urge): Single-Arm acceptability and feasibility trial
Author(s) Hawker, Chloe
Merkouris, StephanieORCID iD for Merkouris, Stephanie orcid.org/0000-0001-9037-6121
Youssef, GeorgeORCID iD for Youssef, George orcid.org/0000-0002-6178-4895
Dowling, NicoleORCID iD for Dowling, Nicole orcid.org/0000-0001-8592-2407
Journal name Journal of Medical Internet Research
Volume number 23
Issue number 3
Start page e25786
End page e25786
Total pages 18
Publisher JMIR Publications Inc.
Place of publication [Pittsburgh, Pa.?]
Publication date 2021-03
ISSN 1439-4456
1438-8871
Keyword(s) craving
ecological momentary assessment
ecological momentary intervention
gambling
mobile phone
relapse
self-efficacy
self-help
smartphone
treatment
urge
Summary Background Low uptake rates of traditional gambling treatments highlight the need for innovative treatment modalities. Smartphone apps can provide unprecedented access to real-time ecological momentary interventions (EMIs) delivered in people’s everyday lives. Objective This study aims to examine the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of GamblingLess: Curb Your Urge, the first smartphone app–delivered EMI that aims to prevent gambling episodes by reducing craving intensity in people seeking help for gambling problems. Methods This study was a single-arm, 5-week acceptability and feasibility trial (1-week baseline and 4-week intervention periods) involving ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) delivered 3 times daily. The EMAs measured gambling episodes, cravings, and self-efficacy. Web-based evaluations at baseline, postintervention, and 1-month follow-up measured gambling outcomes (severity, cravings, frequency, expenditure, and self-efficacy) and the intervention’s perceived helpfulness, relevance, burden, satisfaction, and impact in relation to gambling cravings. Results A total of 36 participants, of whom 22/36 (61%) were male and 34/36 (94%) were problem gamblers, completed the baseline measures, with 61% (22/36) completing the postintervention evaluation and 58% (21/36) completing the follow-up evaluation. The intervention was considered acceptable, as participants perceived all intervention content to be above average in helpfulness and the EMA to be highly relevant but somewhat burdensome. Participants reported that they were satisfied with the intervention and that the intervention improved their knowledge, attitudes, awareness, behavior change, intention to change, and help-seeking behavior for gambling cravings. Regarding the intervention’s feasibility, compliance rates for the EMA (51%) and EMI (15%) were low; however, the intervention was used 166 times, including 59 uses within 60 minutes of EMA completion and 107 on-demand uses. Regarding the intervention’s preliminary effectiveness, descriptive EMA data showed that, compared with the baseline period, 71% and 72% reductions in the average number of gambling episodes and craving occurrences were reported in the intervention period, respectively. In addition, clustered paired-sample two-tailed t tests revealed a significant 5.4% reduction in real-time craving intensity (P=.01) immediately after intervention use, which increased to 10.5% (P=.01), where use was recommended based on craving occurrence. At the group level, significant medium-to-large reductions were observed in mean gambling symptom severity (P=.01 and .003), cravings (P=.03 and .02), frequency (P=.01 and .004), and expenditure (P=.04 and .003) at postintervention and follow-up; moreover, increased mean gambling self-efficacy and craving self-efficacy (P=.01 and .01) were observed at postintervention and increased gambling self-efficacy (P=.04) was observed at follow-up. At the individual level, over a quarter of participants (6/22, 27% to 10/21, 48%) could be categorized as recovered or improved regarding their gambling symptom severity and cravings. Conclusions The results support the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of this app-delivered EMI for preventing gambling episodes through craving management in people with gambling problems, which has implications for extending the reach of evidence-based treatment to moments of vulnerability in people’s everyday lives.
Language eng
DOI 10.2196/25786
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
08 Information and Computing Sciences
11 Medical and Health Sciences
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30147905

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.