Pathways to recovery from gambling problems: Follow-up from a general population survey


One goal of the present investigation was to determine the proportion of recovered problem and pathological gamblers in a community sample who specifically identify themselves as recovered or improved. From this group we sought to obtain a description of the precipitants of recovery and pathways to recovery. A follow-up telephone survey was conducted of participants reporting lifetime but not last year gambling problems in a recent provincial prevalence survey. Forty-two respondents were interviewed by telephone (76% response rate). A very small proportion of the group of potentially recovered problem gamblers confirmed their recovery status. In fact, the vast majority did not acknowledge a lifetime problem with gambling. Only 6 of the 42 in the target sample acknowledged ever having experienced a problem with gambling and all reported that they were not experiencing present gambling problems. The majority of this recovered group were naturally recovered and reported that they felt that treatment was unnecessary (5 of the 6). Reasons for recovery included financial and emotional factors and actions were dominated by stimulus control strategies and engaging in new activities. This follow-up survey provides evidence that the recovered group of gamblers is small and smaller than estimates derived from prevalence survey results.

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