Does providing extended relapse prevention bibliotherapy to problem gamblers improve outcome?

Abstract

Relapse rates among pathological gamblers are high with as many as 75% of gamblers returning to gambling shortly after a serious attempt to quit. The present study focused on providing a low cost, easy to access relapse prevention program to such individuals. Based on information collected in our ongoing study of the process of relapse, a series of relapse prevention booklets were developed and evaluated. Individuals who had recently quit gambling (N = 169) were recruited (through media announcements) and randomly assigned to a single mailing condition in which they received one booklet summarizing all of the relapse prevention information or a repeated mailing condition in which they received the summary booklet plus 7 additional booklets mailed to them at regular intervals over the course of a year period. Gambling involvement over the course of the 12-month follow-up period, confirmed by family or friends, was compared between the two groups. Results indicated that participants receiving the repeated mailings were more likely to meet their goal, but they did not differ from participants receiving the single mailing in frequency of gambling or extent of gambling losses. The results of this project suggest that providing extended relapse prevention bibliotherapy to problem gamblers does not improve outcome. However, providing the overview booklet may be a low cost, easy to access alternative for individuals who have quit gambling.

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