The aim of this study was to identify predictors of treatment dropout in a sample of gamblers attending a specialist clinic for gambling disorder. We analysed data on 846 treatment-seeking pathological gamblers.
Firstly, we investigated differences in socio-demographic and clinical variables between treatment completers and pre-treatment dropouts, as well as between treatment completers and during-treatment dropouts. Subsequently, variables were entered into a multinomial logistic regression model to identify significant predictors of pre-treatment and in-treatment dropout.
Overall, 44.8% of clients did not complete the treatment: 27.4% dropped out before starting it, while 17.4% dropped out during the treatment. Younger age and use of drugs were associated with pre-treatment dropout, while family history of gambling disorder, a lower PGSI score, and being a smoker were related with in-treatment dropout.
Our findings suggest that pre-treatment dropouts differ from in-treatment dropouts, and, thus, further research will benefit from considering these groups separately. In addition, this newly gained knowledge will also be helpful in increasing treatment retention in specific subgroups of problem gamblers.