Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 581–595 | Cite as

Effectiveness of a Self Help Cognitive Behavioural Treatment Program for Problem Gamblers: A Randomised Controlled Trial

  • T. P. S. OeiEmail author
  • N. Raylu
  • W. W. Lai
Original Paper


The study aimed to strengthen the scarce literature on self-help treatments for Problem Gambling (PG) by comparing the effectiveness of a Self-Help Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (SHCBT) program (n = 23) with a 6-week Waitlist condition (n = 32) in problem gamblers. Participants were community volunteers with gambling problems and were randomly allocated to the Waitlist and treatment conditions. Results showed significant improvements at post-treatment in gambling behaviors including frequency of gambling, average amount gambled per day and PG symptoms as well as a number of gambling correlates including psychological states (e.g., depression, anxiety and stress), gambling cognitions, gambling urges, gambling related self-efficacy, satisfaction with life, and quality of life among those who completed the SHCBT program, when compared with the waitlist condition. The effect size (partial η 2) ranged from .25 to .57 for all assessed outcomes that showed significant improvement from pre- to post-treatment. It was concluded that a self-help CBT program can be beneficial for treating community problem gamblers.


Problem gambling CBT Self-help Depression Anxiety Treatment 



We would sincerely like to thank Shana Grozdanovic and Jasmine Loo for their assistance with data collection and entry.


This was funded by the Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation under the Responsible Gambling Research Grants Program. The findings of the study were submitted to the Queensland Office of Gaming Regulation as a condition of the Queensland Office of Gaming Regulation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyJames Cook University SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Nanjing UniversityNanjing ShiChina
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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