Stages of change, clinical presentation, retention, and treatment outcomes in treatment-seeking outpatient problem gambling clients

Abstract

Specific stages of change have been associated with clinical variables before and during the course of addiction treatment. However, few studies have specifically focused on these relationships for problem and pathological gamblers. The present study examined the relationships between pretreatment stages of change and clinical treatment variables in a sample of 71 treatment-seeking problem and pathological gamblers. The participants were administered the following instruments: the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA), the NORC DSM-IV Screen for Gambling Problems (NODS), and the Outcome Questionnaire 45 (OQ-45). The researchers hypothesized that there would be a relationship among pretreatment stages of change and (a) severity of gambling problems at onset of treatment, (b) severity of psychosocial problems at onset of treatment, (c) retention in treatment, and (d) level of psychosocial improvement through therapy. The results indicate that (a) precontemplation was negatively related to reported gambling problems at outset of treatment, and contemplation and maintenance were positively related to reported gambling problems at the outset of treatment; (b) action was positively associated with level of psychosocial functioning at outset of treatment; (c) action was negatively associated with retention in treatment; and (d) maintenance was negatively associated with level of improvement in psychosocial functioning through therapy. Implications for treatment of this population include the ability to adjust treatment plans and interventions with increased awareness of potential barriers and obstacles unique to pretreatment stages of change.

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