Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 335–345 | Cite as

Treatment Goal Selection for Female Pathological Gambling: A Comparison of Abstinence and Controlled Gambling

  • Nicki Dowling
  • David Smith
Original Paper


The current study was an exploratory investigation of the selection of controlled gambling as a goal of treatment for female pathological gambling. Specifically, it aimed to explore: 1) the popularity of controlled gambling as a goal of treatment; 2) the reasons pathological gamblers select abstinence and controlled gambling as goals of treatment; and 3) the characteristics of pathological gamblers attracted to abstinence and controlled gambling. The sample comprised 85 female pathological gamblers attending a cognitive-behavioural treatment program for pathological gambling. The selection of controlled gambling by one-third (34%) of the sample suggests that, at least in the Australian context, controlled gambling is a relatively popular goal of treatment for female pathological gamblers. In this study, the only differences between treatment-seeking female pathological gamblers selecting abstinence and controlled gambling were that those selecting controlled gambling were older and were less likely to endorse the belief that problematic gambling is a disease or affliction that can only be overcome by lifelong abstinence. Further research investigating the characteristics of pathological gamblers associated with controlled gambling as both a goal and outcome of treatment is required in order to ensure that treatment-seeking pathological gamblers can make an informed decision regarding their goal selection.


Pathological gambling Treatment goal Abstinence Controlled gambling Female gambling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

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

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