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Effectiveness of a web-based self-help tool to reduce problem gambling: A randomized controlled trial


Boumparis, Nikolaos; Baumgartner, Christian; Malischnig, Doris; Wenger, Andreas; Achab, Sophia; Khazaal, Yasser; Keough, Matthew T; Hodgins, David C; Bilevicius, Elena; Single, Alanna; Haug, Severin; Schaub, Michael P (2023). Effectiveness of a web-based self-help tool to reduce problem gambling: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 12(3):744-757.

Abstract

Background and AimsProblem gambling constitutes a public health concern associated with psychopathological comorbidity, substance use, and financial difficulties. Most individuals with gambling problems avoid counseling services due to perceived stigma and their preference for self-reliance. Treatment accessibility could be improved through web-based interventions.MethodsWe recruited 360 individuals with gambling problems and randomized them to a web-based intervention (n = 185) or an active control group consisting of a self-help manual for problem gambling (n = 175). The primary outcome was the number of days of gambling in the last 30 days. Secondary outcomes included money spent in the last 30 days, time gambling in the last 7 days, gambling-related problems, consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, and psychopathological comorbidity measured at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up.ResultsThe primary outcome decreased significantly for both groups, with no significant difference between the groups. There were significant group × time interactions according to the Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale (F = 8.83, p <0 .001), the Problem Gambling Severity Index (F = 3.54, p = 0.030), for cigarettes smoked in the last 7 days (F = 26.68, p < 0.001), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (F = 19.41, p <0 .001), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (F = 41.09, p <0 .001) favoring the intervention group. We experienced an overall high dropout rate (76%).ConclusionsWin Back Control seems to be an effective low-threshold treatment option for individuals with gambling problems that might otherwise be unapproachable for outpatient treatment services. Nevertheless, the high dropout rate should be considered when interpreting the study results, as they may have introduced a degree of variability.

Abstract

Background and AimsProblem gambling constitutes a public health concern associated with psychopathological comorbidity, substance use, and financial difficulties. Most individuals with gambling problems avoid counseling services due to perceived stigma and their preference for self-reliance. Treatment accessibility could be improved through web-based interventions.MethodsWe recruited 360 individuals with gambling problems and randomized them to a web-based intervention (n = 185) or an active control group consisting of a self-help manual for problem gambling (n = 175). The primary outcome was the number of days of gambling in the last 30 days. Secondary outcomes included money spent in the last 30 days, time gambling in the last 7 days, gambling-related problems, consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, and psychopathological comorbidity measured at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up.ResultsThe primary outcome decreased significantly for both groups, with no significant difference between the groups. There were significant group × time interactions according to the Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale (F = 8.83, p <0 .001), the Problem Gambling Severity Index (F = 3.54, p = 0.030), for cigarettes smoked in the last 7 days (F = 26.68, p < 0.001), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (F = 19.41, p <0 .001), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (F = 41.09, p <0 .001) favoring the intervention group. We experienced an overall high dropout rate (76%).ConclusionsWin Back Control seems to be an effective low-threshold treatment option for individuals with gambling problems that might otherwise be unapproachable for outpatient treatment services. Nevertheless, the high dropout rate should be considered when interpreting the study results, as they may have introduced a degree of variability.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Medicine (miscellaneous)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Clinical Psychology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychiatry and Mental health, Clinical Psychology, General Medicine, Medicine (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:5 October 2023
Deposited On:05 Oct 2023 11:53
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:38
Publisher:Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN:2062-5871
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.2023.00045
PubMed ID:37659086
Project Information:
  • : Funder16 SOS-Spielsucht-Cantons, Health Promotion Switzerland
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderCanton of Zurich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)