Psychosocial factors related to gambling abstinence and relapse in members of Gamblers Anonymous

Abstract

Problem gamblers account for almost one-third of the industry's total revenue with the adverse effects of problem gambling including significant financial loss, legal and occupational difficulties, family problems, psychological distress and suicide. As such, it is important to understand the influential factors in gambling abstinence and relapse, which will assist in the development of relapse prevention methods in therapeutic treatment regimes. This paper reported the role of a set of seven predictors in distinguishing between abstinent and relapsed gamblers among 75 Gambling Anonymous (GA) members (55 males; 20 females; Mean age 45 years) in Southeast Queensland. The measures taken were meeting Attendance and Participation, Social Support, God Belief, Belief in a Higher Power, Working the 12-steps of Recovery, Gambling Urges and Erroneous Cognitions. Discriminant analysis revealed that the variables separating the two groups were significant, suggesting that GA members achieving abstinence could be distinguished from those who relapsed, with Attendance and Participation, and Social Support contributing the greatest influence on member's ability to abstain from gambling. The findings suggested that GA member's involvement in meetings, and support from family and friends had significant impact on their gambling abstinence. In contrast, increased gambling urges and erroneous cognitions increased the chance of relapse.

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