Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 355–372 | Cite as

Treatment of Female Pathological Gambling: The Efficacy of a Cognitive-Behavioural Approach

  • Nicki Dowling
  • David Smith
  • Trang Thomas
Original Paper


Given that a substantial proportion of current pathological gamblers are female, it is evident that women are underrepresented in the treatment outcome literature. The current study was designed to redress the limited information on the treatment of female pathological gambling. Although the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy is the most highly recommended approach as ‘best practice’ for the treatment of pathological gambling, no attempt to date has been made to evaluate the efficacy of this approach for female pathological gambling. Nineteen female pathological gamblers with electronic gaming machine problems were treated with a cognitive-behavioural program. While pathological gamblers placed on a waiting list did not show significant improvement on gambling behaviour and psychological functioning measures, the female pathological gamblers showed significant improvement on these measures over the treatment period, and maintained this improvement at the 6-month follow-up evaluation. By the completion of the follow-up period, 89% of participants no longer met diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. Although further scientific demonstration and replication are required, the outcomes of this study indicate that the therapy that is considered ‘best practice’ in the treatment of pathological gambling is effective for female pathological gambling.


Pathological gambling Treatment Female Cognitive-behavioural therapy Gambling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychological MedicineMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesRMIT UniversityBundooraAustralia
  3. 3.School of Health SciencesRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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