Effects of added involvement from concerned significant others in internet-delivered CBT treatments for problem gambling: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (full text)

Anders Nilsson, Kristoffer Magnusson, Per Carlbring, Gerhard Andersson, Clara Hellner Gumpert

Introduction Problem gambling is a public health concern affecting ∼2.3% of the Swedish population. Problem gambling also severely affects concerned significant others (CSOs). Several studies have investigated the effect of individual treatments based on cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT), but less is known of the effect of involving CSOs in treatment. This study aims to compare an intervention based on behavioural couples therapy (BCT), involving a CSO, with an individual CBT treatment to determine their relative efficacy. BCT has shown promising results in working with substance abuse, but this is the first time it is used as an intervention for problem gambling. Both interventions will be internet-delivered, and participants will receive written support and telephone support.

Methods and analysis A sample of 120 couples will be randomised to either the BCT condition, involving the gambler and the CSO, or the CBT condition, involving the gambler alone. Measures will be conducted weekly and at 3, 6 and 12 months follow-up. The primary outcome measure is gambling behaviour, as measured by Timeline Followback for Gambling. This article describes the outline of the research methods, interventions and outcome measures used to evaluate gambling behaviour, mechanisms of change and relationship satisfaction. This study will be the first study on BCT for problem gambling.

Ethics and dissemination This study has been given ethical approval from the regional ethics board of Stockholm, Sweden. It will add to the body of knowledge as to how to treat problem gambling and how to involve CSOs in treatment. The findings of this study will be published in peer-reviewed journals and published at international and national conferences.

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Gambling Games on Social Platforms: How Do Advertisements for Social Casino Games Target Young Adults?

Brett Abarbanel, Sally M. Gainsbury, Daniel King, Nerilee Hing, Paul H. Delfabbro

Social casino gaming, which simulates gambling games on social platforms, has become increasingly popular and is rapidly merging with the gambling industry. Advertisements for social casino games, however, are not bound by the same regulations as real money gambling, despite their similarities. We performed a content analysis of a sample of 115 unique social casino gaming advertisements captured by young adults during their regular Internet use. The results showed that the advertisement imagery typically featured images likely to appeal to young adults, such as bright colors, character images of young adults, cartoon animal characters, gambling and sporting activities, references to popular culture, and references to Las Vegas. Latent and manifest message themes included glamorization of gambling, winning, normalization of gambling, play for free, and a general encouragement to play. Notably, nearly 90 percent of the advertisements contained no responsible or problem gambling language, despite the gambling-like content. As young people are receptive of messages that encourage gambling, we recommend that gaming companies recognize the potential harms of advertisements and embrace corporate social responsibility standards. This includes adding warning messages to advertisements for gambling-themed games and ensuring that marketing messages do not encourage excessive gambling.