A Preliminary Investigation of Abstinence and Controlled Gambling as Self-Selected Goals of Treatment for Female Pathological Gambling

  • Nicki Dowling
  • David Smith
  • Trang Thomas
Original paper


The current study aimed to provide a preliminary evaluation of the differential efficacy of a cognitive-behavioural treatment program for female pathological gamblers delivered with the goals of abstinence or controlled gambling. The findings were based on the comparison of pathological gamblers selecting abstinence and pathological gamblers selecting controlled gambling on measures of gambling behaviour and psychological functioning. The findings revealed that pathological gamblers selecting controlled gambling displayed comparable levels of improvement to those displayed by gamblers selecting abstinence. Using a treatment completer approach, 89% of the gamblers selecting abstinence compared with 82% selecting controlled gambling no longer satisfied the diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling by the completion of the 6-month follow-up period. Although further scientific demonstration is required, the findings of this study provide preliminary support for the practice of offering controlled gambling as an alternative goal in the treatment of pathological gambling.


Gambling Pathological gambling Cognitive-behavioural therapy Treatment goal Controlled gambling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Level 3, Alice Hoy BuildingUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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