Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 165–178 | Cite as

Preliminary Evaluation of a Coping Skills Training Program for Those with a Pathological-Gambling Partner

  • Robert G. RychtarikEmail author
  • Neil B. McGillicuddy
Original Paper


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.


Pathological gamblers Pathological gambling Spouses Coping skills Coping skills training 



This research was funded by grant MH60433 from the National Institute of Mental Health. We express our appreciation to Dr. Valerie Lorenz for her helpful consultation on this project. Also, we express our appreciation to dedicated professionals from throughout the United States and Canada who assisted in development of the treatment. Special thanks also to Joan Duquette, Eileen Logsdon, and Kathy Skibicki for their therapeutic skillfulness in administering CST.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute on AddictionsUniversity at Buffalo, The State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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