Improved Outcomes Following a Single Session Web-Based Intervention for Problem Gambling
Research suggests online interventions can have instant impact, however this is yet to be tested with help-seeking adults and in particular those with problem gambling. This study seeks to determine the immediate impact of a single session web-based intervention for problem gambling, and to examine whether sessions evaluated positively by clients are associated with greater improvement. The current study involved 229 participants classified as problem gamblers who agreed to participate after accessing Gambling Help Online between November 2010 and February 2012. Almost half were aged under 35 years of age (45 %), male (57 %) as well as first time treatment seekers (62 %). Participants completed measures of readiness to change and distress both prior to and post-counselling. Following the provision of a single-session of counselling, participants completed ratings of the character of the session (i.e., degree of depth and smoothness) post-counselling. A significant increase in confidence to resist and urge to gamble and a significant decrease in distress (moderate effect size; d = .56 and .63 respectively) was observed after receiving online counselling. A hierarchical regression indicated the character of the session was a significant predictor of change in confidence, however only the sub-scale smoothness was a significant predictor of change in distress. This was the case even after controlling for pre-session distress, session word count and client characteristics (gender, age, preferred gambling activity, preferred mode of gambling, gambling severity, and preferred mode of help-seeking). These findings suggest that single session web-based counselling for problem gambling can have immediate benefits, although further research is required to examine the impact on longer-term outcomes.
KeywordsOnline, session evaluation Gambling Single session Web-based counselling Satisfaction
The authors would like to acknowledge the efforts by states and territories in forming a collaborative funding agreement for Gambling Help Online and in particular the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation as contract managers. Simone Rodda was funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award and we would like to thank Kathleen Bagot for her assistance with data analysis. We would also like to thank all the counsellors involved in providing the Gambling Help Online service as well as the willingness of people affected by problem gambling to access this new modality.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Author Simone Rodda declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Dan Lubman declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Alun Jackson declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Nicki Dowling declares that she has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethics approval for the current study was granted from the University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee (ID:1034028) and the Department of Justice’s Human Research Ethics Committee (JHREC) (CF/10/17108).
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