Purpose of Review: This review seeks to increase awareness of the broad range of interventions for problem gambling that focus on mitigating biased beliefs and behaviors. A secondary goal of this review is to stimulate thinking surrounding the use of so-called debiasing strategies within the areas of responsible gambling, prevention, and treatment of gambling problems. This is accomplished by classifying gambling interventions according to a taxonomy of debiasing strategies which is used more broadly within the field of decision science.
Recent Findings: Many interventions use cognitive and process-driven (known as technological) debiasing strategies. Furthermore, advances in technology to include digital games and online programs have the power to increase both the efficacy and appeal of such approaches. Unfortunately, far fewer interventions have taken advantage of affective and motivational debiasing strategies.
Summary: There are potential insights to be had and new directions to be explored by incorporating debiasing strategies and decision science into investigations of problem gambling interventions. Possibilities include identifying and examining understudied areas, combining debiasing strategies with existing treatments for problem gambling, developing multimodal debiasing interventions, and focusing explicitly on process-driven approaches. Article details and access conditions
Citation: Broussard, J.D. & Wulfert, E. (2019). Debiasing strategies for problem gambling: Using decision science to inform clinical interventions. Current Addiction Reports. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-019-00263-1
Introduction: Based on the results from numerous studies and discussions by expert groups organised by the WHO, gaming disorder is recognised as a mental disorder and is listed in the chapter of mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders in the recently released International Classification of Diseases, 11th Version (ICD-11). Gaming disorder, gambling disorder and substance use disorder belong to the same category of mental disorder. This change will help improve the public’s awareness and understanding of gaming disorder. Meanwhile, it will encourage related research and develop scientific and effective interventions for the purpose of negative consequences reduction. Short article available online
Reference: Zhao, M., & Hao., W. (2019). Challenges of gaming disorder: Suggestions from a public health perspective. General Psychiatry, 32(e100086). doi: 10.1136/gpsych-2019-100086
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
Simone Rodda, Stephanie S. Merkouris, Charles Abraham, David C. Hodgins, Sean Cowlishaw & Nicki A. Dowling. (2018). Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Abstract: Background and aims
To date, no systematic approach to identifying the content and characteristics of psychological interventions used to reduce gambling or problem gambling has been developed. This study aimed to develop a reliable classification system capable of identifying intervention characteristics that could, potentially, account for greater or lesser effectiveness.
Discussion: This research provides a tool that allows systematic identification of intervention characteristics, thereby enabling consideration, not only of whether interventions are effective or not, but also of which domain-relevant characteristics account for greater or lesser effectiveness. The taxonomy also facilitates standardized description of intervention content in a field in which many diverse interventions have been evaluated.
Conclusion: Application of this coding tool has the potential to accelerate the development of more efficient and effective therapist-delivered and self-directed interventions to reduce gambling problems. Full article
Sports betting is growing exponentially, is heavily marketed and successfully targets young adult males. Associated gambling problems are increasing. Therefore, understanding risk factors for problem gambling amongst sports bettors is an increasingly important area of research to inform the appropriate design and targeting of public health and treatment interventions. This study aimed to identify demographic, behavioural and normative risk factors for gambling problems amongst sports bettors…
Source: Hing, N., Russell, A. M. T., Vitartas, P., & Lamont, M. (2015). Demographic, Behavioural and Normative Risk Factors for Gambling Problems Amongst Sports Bettors. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–17. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-015-9571-9