Changing to win

Summary Development and testing of the effectiveness of a new web-based integrated intervention for problematic/pathological gambling behaviour and tobacco consumption
Project manager(s) Michael Schaub
Duration 01.2018-01.2021
Client / Funding partner(s)

Manitoba Gambling Research Program

Cooperating partner(s)

Prof. Matthew Keough, Prof. David Hodgins, Prof. Sherry Stewart, Prof. James Mackillop

Background

There is a strong relationship between problematic gambling addiction and tobacco consumption. Studies show that tobacco addiction is a predominant comorbid disorder in people with problem gambling behaviour, with the prevalence ranging from 41% to 60%. Compared to the general population, people with problematic gambling behaviour are disproportionately affected by increased death rates from tobacco consumption. Moreover, research shows that simultaneous tobacco consumption further exacerbates the problem of gambling behaviour. Smokers with problematic gambling behaviour exhibit higher gambling behaviour pathologies, experience a stronger urge to gamble, often have other mental disorders, tend to bet higher sums, spend more time gambling and have higher financial problems. This suggests that daily smoking may affect the success of gambling addiction treatment. Thus, psychological intervention for gambling behaviour should also focus on the treatment of smoking behaviour.

Objective

Development and testing of the effectiveness of a new web-based integrated intervention for problematic/pathological gambling addiction and tobacco consumption based on a randomized controlled trial.

Method

The proposed intervention is based on strategies of cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing - both are evidence-based approaches for the treatment of problematic gambling behaviour and smoking. A major strength will be the integrated approach, i.e. that problematic gambling behaviour and smoking will be treated simultaneously in the same treatment.

Value of the project

The online platform offers several advantages over personalized forms of treatment. First, Manitoba's population is very rural and has no access to major cities. This is a big challenge to provide comparable health care to all inhabitants of the province. Statistics show that people in remote communities are the most vulnerable to mental health problems and have limited access to treatment facilities. With online treatment, these communities are easier to reach. Secondly, many people with problematic gambling behaviour do not seek traditional addiction treatment because they fear stigmatisation. With an online intervention, a higher willingness to seek treatment is expected due to the anonymity and reduced feelings of shame.

Publications