Preliminary Evaluation of a Coping Skills Training Program for Those with a Pathological-Gambling Partner
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- Rychtarik, R.G. & McGillicuddy, N.B. J Gambl Stud (2006) 22: 165. doi:10.1007/s10899-006-9008-6
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Individuals living with a pathological-gambling partner can experience significant psychological distress. In this report, we conduct a preliminary evaluation of a coping skills training program (CST) for this population. Twenty-three individuals experiencing stress from living with a pathological-gambling partner who was not in treatment were randomly assigned to either CST or a delayed treatment control (DTC) condition. CST consisted of ten, weekly individual sessions to teach more effective coping skills. At the end of the treatment/delay period, CST participants, relative to those in DTC, showed a large improvement in coping skillfulness that appeared to mediate a corresponding large significant reduction in depression and anxiety relative to DTC. Partner gambling during the period decreased in both conditions but did not differ between them, nor did partner help-seeking differ. CST shows promise as an effective treatment for individuals distressed as a result of a partner’s gambling problem. Larger, longer-term evaluations of the intervention, and comparison with alternate treatment models are needed.