Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 221–229 | Cite as

Does the Treatment of Cognitive Distortions Improve Clinical Outcomes for Problem Gambling?

  • Tony Toneatto
  • Mekhala Gunaratne
Original Paper


Although dysfunctional beliefs about gambling outcomes among problem gamblers have been well-established, there is less known about whether specifically treating such beliefs is necessarily more effective than other therapeutic approaches. In the present study, brief, homogenous treatments for problem gambling (i.e., cognitive, behavioral, motivational, minimal intervention) were compared to each other. Each intervention was based on approaches empirically demonstrated to be clinically effective. The treatment sample consisted primarily of middle-aged, non-partnered, underemployed men recruited from the community via newspaper advertisements. The results showed that a cognitive approach did not yield superior outcomes than did treatments that did not explicitly address cognitive distortions. It is likely that there are several pathways to therapeutic change that may not necessarily require the modification of gambling-related psychopathology.


Pathological gambling Cognitive distortions Treatment outcome 



This research was supported by a grant from the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect those of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. This study was conducted with the invaluable assistance of Ms. Naila Daniel, who provided the research support for this study as well as delivering the minimal intervention, and the talented and effective study therapists, Dr. Donna Ferguson and Ms. Bernie Raymond.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Research Department, Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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