, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 217-245

Outcome of Minnesota's Gambling Treatment Programs

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Abstract

This study measured the outcome of four state-supported outpatient gambling treatment programs in Minnesota. The programs were developed specifically for the treatment of pathological gamblers and offered multiple modalities of treatment including individual, group, education, twelve-step work, family groups, and financial counseling. The therapeutic orientation was eclectic with an emphasis on the twelve steps of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and a treatment goal of abstinence. The sample included 348 men and 220 women treated between January 1992 and January 1995. A pretest-posttest design was utilized with multidimensional assessments obtained at intake, discharge, six-months, and twelve-months post-discharge. Variables assessed included a range of clinical and outcome variables. At six month follow-up, 28% reported that they had abstained from gambling during the six months following discharge and an additional 20% had gambled less than once per month. Almost half of the sample (48%) showed clinically significant improvement in gambling frequency at six monthfollow-up. Outcome variables of gambling frequency, SOGS scores, amount of money gambled, number of friends who gamble, psychosocial problems, and number of financial problems, all showed statistically significant improvements from pretreatment to follow-up. The treatment programs yielded outcome results similar to those reported for alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs.