Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 215–230 | Cite as

Minimal Treatment Approaches for Concerned Significant Others of Problem Gamblers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • David C. Hodgins
  • Tony Toneatto
  • Karyn Makarchuk
  • Wayne Skinner
  • Susan Vincent
Original Paper


The goal of this study was to examine the efficacy of minimal treatment interventions for concerned significant others (CSOs) of problem gamblers. One hundred and eighty-six participants (82% females, 56% spouses) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the first minimal intervention group received a self-help workbook [based on behavioral principles, modified from the Community Reinforcement and Family Therapy (CRAFT) model] and the second minimal intervention group received the workbook plus telephone support. The control condition received a treatment resource information package. Overall, all participants reported significant improvement in personal and relationship functioning and gambling behavior and consequences at the 3- and 6-month follow-up. The data demonstrated differences in favor of the interventions in three areas: days gambling, satisfaction with the program, and number who had their needs met. There was no difference in the number who had entered treatment. It may be that CSOs require more guidance and follow-up support to achieve these goals using the CRAFT procedures and strategies.


Concerned significant others Gambling problems intervention Self-help workbook Community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT) Cognitive-behavioral treatment 



This project was funded by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre. Kylie Thygesen did a superb job in coordinating the research team, which included Erin Cassidy, Susan Green, Adriana Sorbo, Steve Skitch, Stephen Rimac, and Renee Soenen. We would also like to thank the therapists, Gary Hoskins, Brian Carlson, & Janine Robinson, who were contracted from the Problem Gambling Project at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Nina Littman-Sharp played a large role in coordinating this involvement. We would also like to thank the participants who gave freely of their time despite the struggles they were facing.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Hodgins
    • 1
  • Tony Toneatto
    • 2
  • Karyn Makarchuk
    • 1
  • Wayne Skinner
    • 2
  • Susan Vincent
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Center for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  3. 3.The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline (OPGH)LondonCanada

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