A preliminary, qualitative exploration of the influences associated with drop-out from cognitive-behavioural therapy for problem gambling: An Australian perspective

Abstract

It has been estimated that 80% of Australians engage in some form of gambling, with approximately 115,000 Australians experiencing severe problems (Productivity Commission 2010). Very few people with problem gambling seek help and, of those who do, large numbers drop-out of therapy before completing their program. To gain insights into these problems, participants who had either completed or withdrawn prematurely from an individual CBT-based problem gambling treatment program were interviewed to examine factors predictive of premature withdrawal from therapy as well as people's 'readiness' for change. The results indicated that there might be some early indicators of risk for early withdrawal. These included: gambling for pleasure or social interaction; non-compliance with homework tasks; gambling as a strategy to avoid personal issues or dysphoric mood; high levels of guilt and shame; and a lack of readiness for change. The study further showed that application of the term 'drop-out' to some clients may be an unnecessarily negative label in that a number appear to have been able to reduce their gambling urges even after a short exposure to therapy.

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