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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Nikolaos Boumparis
,
Christian Baumgartner
,
Doris Malischnig
,
Andreas Wenger
,
Sophia Achab
,
Yasser Khazaal
,
Matthew T. Keough
,
David C. Hodgins
,
Elena Bilevicius
,
Alanna Single
,
Severin Haug
, and
Michael P Schaub

Abstract

Background and Aims

Problem gambling constitutes a public health concern associated with psychopathological comorbidity, substance use, and financial difficulties. Most individuals with gambling problems avoid counseling services due to perceived stigma and their preference for self-reliance. Treatment accessibility could be improved through web-based interventions.

Methods

We recruited 360 individuals with gambling problems and randomized them to a web-based intervention (n = 185) or an active control group consisting of a self-help manual for problem gambling (n = 175). The primary outcome was the number of days of gambling in the last 30 days. Secondary outcomes included money spent in the last 30 days, time gambling in the last 7 days, gambling-related problems, consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, and psychopathological comorbidity measured at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up.

Results

The primary outcome decreased significantly for both groups, with no significant difference between the groups. There were significant group × time interactions according to the Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale (F = 8.83, p <0 .001), the Problem Gambling Severity Index (F = 3.54, p = 0.030), for cigarettes smoked in the last 7 days (F = 26.68, p < 0.001), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (F = 19.41, p <0 .001), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (F = 41.09, p <0 .001) favoring the intervention group. We experienced an overall high dropout rate (76%).

Conclusions

Win Back Control seems to be an effective low-threshold treatment option for individuals with gambling problems that might otherwise be unapproachable for outpatient treatment services. Nevertheless, the high dropout rate should be considered when interpreting the study results, as they may have introduced a degree of variability.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Van Bui
,
Christian Baumgartner
,
Elena Bilevicius
,
Alanna Single
,
Lana Vedelago
,
Vanessa Morris
,
Tyler Kempe
,
Michael P. Schaub
,
Sherry H. Stewart
,
James MacKillop
,
David C. Hodgins
,
Jeffrey D. Wardell
,
Rosin O’Connor
,
Jennifer Read
,
Heather D. Hadjistavropoulos
,
Christopher Sundström
,
Sarah Dermody
,
Andrew H. Kim
, and
Matthew T. Keough

Abstract

Background and aims

Problem gambling and tobacco use are highly comorbid among adults. However, there are few treatment frameworks that target both gambling and tobacco use simultaneously (i.e., an integrated approach), while also being accessible and evidence-based. The aim of this two-arm open label RCT was to examine the efficacy of an integrated online treatment for problem gambling and tobacco use.

Methods

A sample of 209 participants (M age = 37.66, SD = 13.81; 62.2% female) from North America were randomized into one of two treatment conditions (integrated [n = 91] or gambling only [n = 118]) that lasted for eight weeks and consisted of seven online modules. Participants completed assessments at baseline, after treatment completion, and at 24-week follow-up.

Results

While a priori planned generalized linear mixed models showed no condition differences on primary (gambling days, money spent, time spent) and secondary outcomes, both conditions did appear to significantly reduce problem gambling and smoking behaviours over time. Post hoc analyses showed that reductions in smoking and gambling craving were correlated with reductions in days spent gambling, as well as with gambling disorder symptoms. Relatively high (versus low) nicotine replacement therapy use was associated with greater reductions in gambling behaviours in the integrated treatment condition.

Discussion and conclusions

While our open label RCT does not support a clear benefit of integrated treatment, findings suggest that changes in smoking and gambling were correlated over time, regardless of treatment condition, suggesting that more research on mechanisms of smoking outcomes in the context of gambling treatment may be relevant.

Open access