Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 381–392 | Cite as

Significant Others and Gambling Treatment Outcomes

  • Prajkta J. Ingle
  • Jeffrey Marotta
  • Garnett McMillan
  • Jennifer P. Wisdom
Original Paper


Aims This study investigates the effect of significant others on treatment outcomes among treated pathological gamblers. Design This is a cohort study of individuals who received gambling treatment. Setting Oregon Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) for gamblers and their family members. Participants 4,410 adult gamblers who were discharged from treatment between August, 2001 and April, 2007. Measurements OPGS enrollment forms provided gambler gender, age, ethnicity, education level, employment status, gambling-related debt, and whether the gambler had a significant other at the time of enrollment. Termination forms provided information on the type of discharge (successful/unsuccessful) and treatment length (in days). Participation of the gambler’s significant other in the family treatment program was identified. Findings Results showed that age, ethnicity, gambling debt, and having a significant other are associated with the odds of successful treatment. Education level moderates the effect of having a significant other on treatment success. Age, ethnicity, education, employment, and having a significant other participate in treatment significantly impacted gamblers’ length in treatment. Conclusions These findings indicate that there may be a benefit to integrating significant others in gambling treatment methods. Significant others may act as social supports for gamblers seeking treatment, and involving loved ones in gambling treatment models may positively affect gambler treatment outcomes.


Pathological gambling Spouses Treatment outcomes Family members 



We would like to thank Thomas Moore, PhD of Herbert & Louis, LLC, Wilsonville, OR, for developing the data collection tools and supervising data collection. This work was conducted while Dr. Wisdom was at Oregon Health and Science University.


  1. Abrams, D., McCrady, B., Nelson, H., Noel, N., & Stout, R. (1991). Effectiveness of three types of spouse-involved behavioral alcoholism treatment. Addiction, 86, 1415–1424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (rev. ed). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  3. Azrin, N. H. (1976). Improvements in the community-reinforcement approach to alcoholism. Behavior Research and Therapy, 14, 339–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Azrin, N., & Sisson, R. (1986). Family-member involvement to initiate and promote treatment of problem drinkers. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychology, 17, 15–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Badger, G., Bickel, W., Budney, A., & Higgins, S. (1994). Participation of significant others in outpatient behavioral treatment predicts greater cocaine abstinence. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 20, 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black, D. W., Monahan, P. O., Temkit, M., & Shaw, M. (2006). A family study of pathological gambling. Psychiatry Research, 141, 295–303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bland, R. C., Newman, S. C., Orn, H., & Stabelsky, C. (1993). Epidemiology of pathological gambling in Edmonton. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 38, 108–112.Google Scholar
  8. Blaszczynski, A., & Silove, D. (1995). Cognitive and behavioral therapies for pathological gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 11, 195–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Castro, V., Fuentes, D., & Tavares, H. (2005). The gambling follow-up scale: Development and reliability testing of a scale for pathological gamblers under treatment. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50, 81–86.Google Scholar
  10. Collett, D. (2003). Modeling survival data in medical research (2nd ed., Vol. 57). Cambridge: Chapman & Hall/CRC Texts in Statistical Science Series.Google Scholar
  11. Grant, J., Kim, S., & Kuskowski, M. (2004). Retrospective review of treatment retention in pathological gambling. Comparative Psychology, 45, 83–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hodgins, D., & el-Guebaly, N. (2000). Natural and treatment assisted recovery from gambling problems: Comparison of resolved and active gamblers. Addiction, 95, 777–789.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hodgins, D., Toneatto, T., Makarchuk, K., Skinner, W., & Vincent, S. (2007). Minimal treatment approaches for concerned significant others of problem gamblers: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23, 215–230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaminer, V., & Petry, N. (1999). Alcohol & drug abuse: Gambling behavior in youths: Why we should be concerned. Psychiatric Services, 50, 167–168.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Korn, D., & Shaffer, H. (2002). Gambling and related mental disorders: A public health analysis. Annual Review of Public Health, 23, 171–212.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ladouceur, R., & Toneatto, T. (2003). Treatment of pathological gambling: A critical review of the literature. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 17, 284–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lorenz, V. C., & Shuttlesworth, D. E. (1983). The impact of pathological gambling on the spouse of the gambler. Journal of Community Psychology, 11, 67–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moore, T., & Marotta, J. (2006). Oregon gambling treatment programs evaluation update 2005. Salem, OR: Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Addictions Services.Google Scholar
  19. Muelleman, R. L., DenOtter, T., Wadman, M. C., Tran, T. P., & Anderson, J. (2002). Problem gambling in the partner of the emergency department patient as a risk factor for intimate partner violence. Journal of Emergency Medicine, 23, 307–312.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Oei, T., & Raylu, N. (2007). Factors that predict treatment outcomes in a community treatment agency for problem gamblers. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 5, 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Petry, N. (2003). Substance abuse, pathological gambling, and impulsiveness. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 63, 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Petry, N. M. (2003). Pathological gambling: Etiology, comorbidity and treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  23. Potenza, M. (2005). Advancing treatment strategies for pathological gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21, 91–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (1999). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research based guide (pp. 99–4180). National Institute of Health Publication.Google Scholar
  25. Shadish, W., & Stanton, M. (1997). Outcome, attrition, and family-couples treatment for drug abuse: A meta-analysis and review of the controlled, comparative studies. Psychological Bulletin, 122, 170–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shaw, M. C., Forbush, K. T., Schlinder, J., Rosenman, E., & Black, D. W. (2007). The effect of pathological gambling on families, marriages, and children. CNS Spectrums, 12(8), 615–622.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. SPSS Science. (2005). SPSS for windows, release 14.0 (graduate pack). Chicago, IL: SPSS Science.Google Scholar
  28. Wildman, R. II (1989). Pathological gambling: Marital-familial factors, implications, and treatments. Journal of Gambling Studies, 5, 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prajkta J. Ingle
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Marotta
    • 2
    • 3
  • Garnett McMillan
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jennifer P. Wisdom
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Preventive MedicineOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Problem Gambling Solutions, Inc.PortlandUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  4. 4.Behavioral Health Research Center of the SouthwestPacific Institute for Research and EvaluationAlbuquerqueUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations