Randomized controlled trial of an Internet intervention for problem gambling provided with or without access to an Internet intervention for co-occurring mental health distress [open-access article]

Abstract
Background and aims: The current randomized controlled trial tested whether there was benefit to providing an online gambling intervention and a separate self-help mental health intervention for anxiety and depression (i.e. MoodGYM) (G + MH), compared to only a gambling intervention (G only) among people with co-occurring gambling problems and mental health distress. The primary outcome of interest was improvement in gambling outcomes. Secondary analyses also tested for the impact of the combined intervention on depression and anxiety outcomes.
Methods: Participants who were concerned about their gambling were recruited to help evaluate an online intervention for gamblers. Those who met criteria for problem gambling were randomized to receive either the G only or the G + MH intervention. Participants were also assessed for current mental health distress at baseline, with three quarters (n = 214) reporting significant current distress and form the sample for this study. Participants were followed-up at 3- and 6-months to assess changes in gambling status, and improvements in depression and anxiety.
Results: Follow-up rates were poor (47% completed at least one follow-up). While there were significant reductions in gambling outcomes, as well as on measures of current depression and anxiety, there was no significant difference in outcomes between participants receiving the G only versus the G + MH intervention.
Discussion and conclusion: There does not appear to be a benefit to providing access to an additional online mental health intervention to our online gambling intervention, at least among participants who are concerned about their gambling.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02800096; Registration date: June 14, 2016.
Article available online

Reference: Cunningham, J.A., Hodgins, D.C., Mackenzie, C.S., Godinho, A., Schell, C., Kushnir, V., & Hendershot, C.S. (2019). Randomized controlled trial of an Internet intervention for problem gambling provided with or without access to an Internet intervention for co-occurring mental health distress. Internet Interventions, 17(September, 100239). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2019.100239

Gambling-related cognitive distortions mediate the relationship between depression and disordered gambling severity [subscription access article]

Abstract: Background and objectives
Symptoms of depression are highly prevalent among individuals with gambling disorder, and severity of depression is associated with severity of gambling problem. Yet, little is known about the psychological mechanisms by which symptoms of depression lead to greater gambling severity. In this study, we tested whether cognitive distortions represent one such mechanism, as cognitive distortions are key characteristics in both depression and gambling disorder and have been shown to be associated with gambling severity.

Highlights
• Depression symptoms predict cognitive distortions and gambling severity
• Controlling for depression, cognitive distortions predict greater gambling severity
• Cognitive distortions mediate the effect of depression on gambling severity

Article details and access conditions

Magdalen G. Schluter, Hyoun S. Kim, Julia C. Poole, David C. Hodgins, Daniel S. McGrath, Keith S. Dobson, Hermano Taveres. (2019). Gambling-related cognitive distortions mediate the relationship between depression and disordered gambling severity. Addictive Behaviors, 90, 318-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.038.