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Article

GamblingLess: A Randomised Trial Comparing Guided and Unguided Internet-Based Gambling Interventions

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School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
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Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
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School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
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Turning Point, Eastern Health, 110 Church St, Richmond, VIC 3121, Australia
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College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia
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School of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
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Turning Point, Eastern Health and Monash Addiction Research Centre, Eastern Health Clinical School, Richmond, VIC 3121, Australia
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National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
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Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON M6J 1H4, Canada
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Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada
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Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christopher Madan
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(11), 2224; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112224
Received: 25 March 2021 / Revised: 10 May 2021 / Accepted: 13 May 2021 / Published: 21 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Gambling, Gaming and Other Behavioural Addictions)
There is little evidence relating to the effects of adding guidance to internet-based gambling interventions. The primary aim was to compare the effectiveness of an online self-directed cognitive-behavioural gambling program (GamblingLess) with and without therapist-delivered guidance. It was hypothesised that, compared to the unguided intervention, the guided intervention would result in superior improvements in gambling symptom severity, urges, frequency, expenditure, psychological distress, quality of life and help-seeking. A two-arm, parallel-group, randomised trial with pragmatic features and three post-baseline evaluations (8 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 months) was conducted with 206 gamblers (106 unguided; 101 guided). Participants in both conditions reported significant improvements in gambling symptom severity, urges, frequency, expenditure, and psychological distress across the evaluation period, even after using intention-to-treat analyses and controlling for other low- and high-intensity help-seeking, as well as clinically significant changes in gambling symptom severity (69% recovered/improved). The guided intervention resulted in additional improvements to urges and frequency, within-group change in quality of life, and somewhat higher rates of clinically significant change (77% cf. 61%). These findings, which support the delivery of this intervention, suggest that guidance may offer some advantages but further research is required to establish when and for whom human support adds value. View Full-Text
Keywords: gambling; internet; online; intervention; treatment; cognitive-behavioural; CBT; self-help; self-directed; guidance; guided; unguided gambling; internet; online; intervention; treatment; cognitive-behavioural; CBT; self-help; self-directed; guidance; guided; unguided
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dowling, N.A.; Merkouris, S.S.; Rodda, S.N.; Smith, D.; Aarsman, S.; Lavis, T.; Lubman, D.I.; Austin, D.W.; Cunningham, J.A.; Battersby, M.W.; O, S.C. GamblingLess: A Randomised Trial Comparing Guided and Unguided Internet-Based Gambling Interventions. J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10, 2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112224

AMA Style

Dowling NA, Merkouris SS, Rodda SN, Smith D, Aarsman S, Lavis T, Lubman DI, Austin DW, Cunningham JA, Battersby MW, O SC. GamblingLess: A Randomised Trial Comparing Guided and Unguided Internet-Based Gambling Interventions. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2021; 10(11):2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112224

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dowling, Nicki A., Stephanie S. Merkouris, Simone N. Rodda, David Smith, Stephanie Aarsman, Tiffany Lavis, Dan I. Lubman, David W. Austin, John A. Cunningham, Malcolm W. Battersby, and Seung Chul O. 2021. "GamblingLess: A Randomised Trial Comparing Guided and Unguided Internet-Based Gambling Interventions" Journal of Clinical Medicine 10, no. 11: 2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112224

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