, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 202-210

Dropouts and continuers in Gamblers Anonymous: Part four. Evaluation and summary

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In this fourth part of a study of dropouts from Gamblers Anonymous, the design, aims and rationale of which are outlined in part 1 (Brown, 1985b) experiences of GA by a sample of dropouts who had attended more than one meeting are analyzed and compared with similarly obtained responses from a group of continuing attenders who had not gambled for at least one year. The overall pattern of findings from the three prior parts of the study is interpreted as suggesting that

  1. Gamblers anonymous may be better at coping with those whose gambling has been severely excessive and had led to many problems. However GA's approach is not so easily accepted and therefore not so effective with those who seek help at an earlier stage in the development of their problems.

  2. Gamblers Anonymous may work better with those who have few relapses or best with those who have none at all. Although it may be very helpful in avoiding relapses, it may be less helpful in dealing with them when they do occur.

problems of the representativeness of the sample, of generalizing to Gamblers Anonymous as a whole, and of arguing from associations to causes are discussed. A general picture of the organization as a whole is presented.

Hector Currie and David leSage were volunteer interviewers. A. J. Weir and J. G. Gillies read the manuscript and contributed corrections and suggestions. Without the vigorous cooperation of many members of the Glasgow Wednesday Group of Gamblers Anonymous and especially without the meticulous recordkeeping of Pat and the moral and political support of Walter this study would not have been possible.