A Randomised Controlled Trial to Determine Effective Treatments for Problem Gambling
Recent gambling surveys suggest that between 1.4% and 3.1% of Australian adults report problem or moderate risk gambling. One in eight adults knows at least one family member with a serious gambling problem and one in every two adults knows at least one person with a serious gambling problem. Problem gambling can lead to adverse consequences not only for the gambler, but also his/her family, friends and the community, as it can be associated with serious money problems, relationship and family breakdown, depression and suicide, and substance abuse.
The Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre (PGRTC) recently conducted high quality reviews of the gambling treatment literature, resulting in the first national clinical guideline for the screening, assessment and treatment of problem gambling, approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Furthermore, PGRTC researchers are finalising two high quality reviews of previous research studies on the effectiveness of psychological and pharmacological interventions in the treatment of problem gambling. The main findings of these reviews were that psychological treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy and motivational interviewing, could be helpful in reducing problem gambling. These leading research activities also identified the current gaps in knowledge about effective treatments for problem gambling. More research is required to determine which treatment is most effective, and which one works best for whom. The PGRTC is therefore currently conducting a research study, directly informed by the results of the reviews, to answer these important questions.
The aim of this research study is to identify effective psychological treatments for problem gambling and to determine if the effects can be sustained over time. Furthermore, it will examine if different types of people respond better to certain types of psychological treatment. People's experiences of treatment will be examined in more detail in a subgroup of participants. This information is needed to understand which aspects of treatment are important for the participants and why some treatments may be more effective than others.
Who can participate?
You can participate if you:
You will not be able to participate if you are:
What does participation in this study involve?
If you are interested in participating you can contact the PGRTC screening team by telephone on 1800 211 633 or by e-mail at email@example.com. In an initial telephone call, taking 5-10 minutes, you can ask questions about the study and if you wish to continue, we will check if you can participate based on the criteria above. If you are eligible to participate, you will receive written study information and a consent form that needs to be signed by you and returned to the PGRTC screening team.
With you consent, you will be randomly allocated to one of four possible types of treatment aimed at reducing problematic gambling behaviour. These include:
Whilst the treatments differ somewhat in their content, each treatment program will include six sessions. In some cases, there will be an option to have additional sessions if both the therapist and you agree. You will receive a letter with the type of treatment and contact details of the therapist providing the treatment. The therapist will then contact you to arrange the first treatment session.
In order to examine if the treatment is effective in reducing gambling problems, we will collect information from you before the first treatment session and immediately after the completion of your treatment. To determine if the treatment is effective over time, data will also be collected at various points in time, up to two years after completion of the treatment. Data will be collected during 30-45 minute telephone interviews in which you will be asked, for example, about your gambling behaviour and the consequences of this, if any, and your wellbeing.
The treatment itself is free of cost. In addition, after the end of your treatment you will receive gift vouchers for each telephone interview you complete, to thank you for your time and effort.
Where will the study be held?
This study is being conducted in Victoria and treatment sessions will mainly be conducted in Melbourne.
Treatment experience component
An optional component of this study involves participation in a series of 45-60 minute face-to-face and telephone interviews in addition to those mentioned above, in which you will be asked about your treatment experiences. If you participate in this component, you will receive movie vouchers for each completed interview to thank you for your time and effort.
For further information please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can chat with our screening team Monday through Friday, on 1800 211 633