Applying the codependency concept to concerned significant others of problem gamblers: Words of caution

Abstract

Two competing models of understanding concerned significant others (CSOs) of people with addictions have emerged: codependency (CD) and stress-coping. In the context of CSOs of problem gamblers, some research has begun to examine the effectiveness of the stress-coping model, but no research to date has examined the utility of incorporating the CD concept into treatment planning. The purpose of this paper is to: critique the CD concept while highlighting possible differences between problem gambling and substance abuse (i.e., financial issues, the ability to hide the problem, cognitive distortions, and societal attitudes); identify important considerations when working with CSOs of problem gamblers; make recommendations for program managers regarding hiring and training practices; and recommend directions for research and in-depth program evaluations to assess what is actually occurring in existing practice.

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