Introduction: The past-year prevalence of problem gambling worldwide averages 2.3%. Switzerland exhibits a slightly lower past-year prevalence rate, of 1.1%, among adults. Only a minority of these adults attend outpatient treatment. Surveyed problem gamblers have explained that they wanted to handle the problem on their own. The option of a web-based self-help programme could potentially reach those users who hesitate to approach treatment centres and help them to reduce or stop their problem gambling. The effectiveness of such web-based interventions has been shown in other countries. Link to the article
Citation: Baumgartner, C., Bilevicius, E., Khazaal, Y., et al. (2019). Efficacy of a webbased self-help tool to reduce problem gambling in Switzerland: study protocol of a two-armed randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 9(e032110). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032110
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
Abstract: Online gambling, unlike offline forms of gambling and other mediums of problematic and addictive behaviours such as alcohol and tobacco, offers unprecedented opportunities for monitoring and understanding users’ behaviour in real-time, along with the ability to adapt persuasive messages and interactions that would fit the gamblers usage and personal context. This opens a whole new avenue for research on the monitoring and interactive utilization of gambling behavioural data. To this end, in this paper we explore the range of data and modalities of interaction which can facilitate richer interactive persuasive interventions and offer additional support to goal setting, with ultimate aim of aiding gamblers to stay in control of their gambling experience [continues]. Access full report
Citation: Drosatos, G., Arden-Close, E., Bolat, E., Vuillier, L. and Ali, R., 2018. Gambling Behaviour Data and Modalities of Persuasive Interaction for Enabling Responsible Online Gambling. Technical Report. Poole, England: Bournemouth University.