Online and on-demand support for people affected by problem gambling the potential for e-mental health interventions – full text

Rodda, S., Lubman, D., Dowling, N., Australian Gambling Research Centre, & Australian Institute of Family Studies.

This paper provides an overview of the evidence on e-mental health support and treatment options for people seeking help with problem gambling. Sections include: Help-seeking and technology, a brief history; Help-seeking behaviours of people experiencing gambling problems; E-mental health: bene ts and drawbacks; Evidence base for e-mental health interventions; E-mental health modalities; Integration of modalities and future innovation; and Recommendations for service providers.

Pharmacotherapy and group cognitive behavioral therapy enhance follow-up treatment duration in gambling disorder patients

Choi, S.-W., Shin, Y.-C., Youn, H., Lim, S.-W., & Ha, J.

Background
Longer treatment duration is important for the successful treatment of gambling disorder (GD). This retrospective study investigated the factors and interventions that might enhance treatment duration in GD patients in South Korea.

Methods
A total of 758 outpatients with a primary diagnosis of GD, who were treated in a clinical practice from 2002 to 2011, were assessed by retrospective chart review. We compared the treatment duration according to pharmacotherapy and group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Results
Pharmacotherapy contributed to a longer duration of treatment maintenance, despite the patients’ gambling severity (p < 0.001). Participation in group CBT (p < 0.001) and antidepressants (p = 0.009) were associated with a longer treatment duration after adjusting for age, depression, and gambling severity. The treatment maintenance duration was the longest in those receiving combined antidepressant pharmacotherapy and group CBT (F = 35.79, p < 0.001).

Conclusions
Group CBT and antidepressants seem to enhance treatment follow-up duration in GD patients. Additional studies are needed to advance GD prevention and treatment strategies.

Unpacking the public stigma of problem gambling: The process of stigma creation and predictors of social distancing

Hing, N., Russell, A. M. T., & Gainsbury, S. M.

Background and aims
Public stigma diminishes the health of stigmatized populations, so it is critical to understand how and why stigma occurs to inform stigma reduction measures. This study aimed to examine stigmatizing attitudes held toward people experiencing problem gambling, to examine whether specific elements co-occur to create this public stigma, and to model explanatory variables of this public stigma.

Methods
An online panel of adults from Victoria, Australia (N = 2,000) was surveyed. Measures were based on a vignette for problem gambling and included demographics, gambling behavior, perceived dimensions of problem gambling, stereotyping, social distancing, emotional reactions, and perceived devaluation and discrimination. A hierarchical linear regression was conducted.

Results
People with gambling problems attracted substantial negative stereotypes, social distancing, emotional reactions, and status loss/discrimination. These elements were associated with desired social distance, as was perceived that problem gambling is caused by bad character, and is perilous, non-recoverable, and disruptive. Level of contact with problem gambling, gambling involvement, and some demographic variables was significantly associated with social distance, but they explained little additional variance.

Discussion and conclusions
This study contributes to the understanding of how and why people experiencing gambling problems are stigmatized. Results suggest the need to increase public contact with such people, avoid perpetuation of stereotypes in media and public health communications, and reduce devaluing and discriminating attitudes and behaviors.

Hing, N., Russell, A. M. T., & Gainsbury, S. M. (2016). Unpacking the public stigma of problem gambling: The process of stigma creation and predictors of social distancing. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 1–9. http://doi.org/10.1556/2006.5.2016.057

“I can sit on the beach and punt through my mobile phone”: The influence of physical and online environments on the gambling risk behaviours of young men

Deans, E. G., Thomas, S. L., Daube, M., & Derevensky, J.

Gambling is rapidly emerging as an important public health issue, with gambling products causing considerable health and social harms to individuals, families and communities. Whilst researchers have raised concerns about online wagering environments, few studies have sought to explore how factors within different gambling environments (both online and land-based) may be influencing the wagering, and more broadly the gambling risk behaviours of young men. Using semi-structured interviews with 50 Australian men (20–37 years) who gambled on sport, we explored the ways in which online and land-based environments may be risk-promoting settings for gambling. This included the appeal factors associated with gambling in these environments, factors that encouraged individuals to gamble, and factors that encouraged individuals to engage in different, and more harmful types of gambling. Interviews were conducted over the course of a year (April 2015 to April 2016). We identified a number of situational and structural factors that promoted risky gambling environments for young men. In the online environment, gambling products had become exceedingly easy to access through mobile technologies, with young men subscribing to multiple accounts to access industry promotions. The intangibility of money within online environments impacted upon risk perceptions. In land-based environments, the social rituals associated with peer group behaviour and sport influenced risky patterns of gambling. The presence of both gambling and alcohol in pub environments led individuals to gamble more than they normally would, and on products that they would not normally gamble on. Land-based venues also facilitated access to multiple forms of gambling under the one roof. We identified a number of factors in both land and online environments that when combined, created risk-promoting settings for gambling among young men. By exploring these contextual conditions that give rise to gambling harm, we are better able to advocate for effective public health responses in creating environments that prevent harmful gambling.

Deans, E. G., Thomas, S. L., Daube, M., & Derevensky, J. (2016). ‘I can sit on the beach and punt through my mobile phone’: The influence of physical and online environments on the gambling risk behaviours of young men. Social Science & Medicine. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.08.017

“Talk with me”: perspectives on services for men with problem gambling and housing instability – open access

Guilcher, S. J. T., Hamilton-Wright, S., Skinner, W., Woodhall-Melnik, J., Ferentzy, P., Wendaferew, A., … Matheson, F. I. (2016).

Abstract: Problem gambling and homelessness are recognized as important public health concerns that significantly impact individuals, their friends and families, communities and broader society. We aimed to explore the experiences with health and social services of men who had histories of problem gambling and housing instability in Toronto, Ontario.

Citation: Guilcher, S. J. T., Hamilton-Wright, S., Skinner, W., Woodhall-Melnik, J., Ferentzy, P., Wendaferew, A., … Matheson, F. I. (2016). ‘Talk with me’: perspectives on services for men with problem gambling and housing instability. BMC Health Services Research, 16, 340. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1583-3

Gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace: a qualitative study – open access

Binde, P. (2016).

People with severe gambling problems typically first spend all their available money on gambling and then resort to borrowing, selling personal property and other ways of procuring more money for gambling. Some problem gamblers commit economic crimes. This investigation examined gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace, an aspect of problem gambling that may severely harm the gambler, significant others and the employer. The methods used are the study of newspaper articles and qualitative interviews with 18 informants, including professionals in workplace security and drug-use prevention, therapists specializing in problem gambling treatment, counsellors from mutual support societies, and recovered problem gamblers who had embezzled. Gambling-related embezzlement often progresses in a characteristic sequence shaped by specific processes in which the gambler’s thoughts and emotions interact systemically with the monetary losses caused by participating in commercial gambling and the opportunity to embezzle money in the workplace. In this study, criminological theory of white collar crime usefully complemented psychological theories of problem gambling. It is concluded that a processual perspective, in addition to consideration of psychological and environmental factors, is valuable for understanding the progression to severe problem gambling.

Binde, P. (2016). Gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace: a qualitative study. International Gambling Studies, 0(0), 1–17. http://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2016.1214165