A randomized trial of brief interventions for problem and pathological gamblers


Limited research exists regarding methods for reducing problem gambling. Problem gamblers (N = 180) were randomly assigned to assessment only control, 10 min of brief advice, 1 session of motivational enhancement therapy (MET), or 1 session of MET plus 3 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Gambling was assessed at baseline, at 6 weeks, and at a 9-month follow-up. Relative to assessment only, brief advice was the only condition that significantly decreased gambling between baseline and Week 6, and it was associated with clinically significant reductions in gambling at Month 9. Between Week 6 and Month 9, MET plus cognitive-behavioral therapy evidenced significantly reduced gambling on 1 index compared with the control condition. These results suggest the efficacy of a very brief intervention for reduction of gambling among problem and pathological gamblers who are not actively seeking gambling treatment.

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