A Mutual Support Group for Young Problem Gamblers
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A Swedish mutual support group for young problem gamblers is described and discussed. During the study period, 116 weekly meetings occurred, usually involving six to ten participants; in total, 69 problem gamblers (66 male and three female), aged 17–25, and 23 partners and friends attended the meetings. Half the gamblers had problems with Internet poker, one fifth with electronic gambling machines, and the rest with other forms of gambling and computer gaming. Nearly half the problem gamblers participated in under five mutual support meetings, while just over a third attended ten or more meetings. Gambling problems ceased or lessened among most participants in ten or more meetings. In some cases, attending just one or a few meetings had a positive impact on the problems. This mutual support group provides relatively effective help to adolescents and young adults with gambling problems, offering a valuable alternative and complement to professional treatment.
KeywordsProblem gambling Adolescents Self-help Mutual support Treatment
This paper reports results of a study financed by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health and the Swedish Inheritance Fund, transferred by the Society of Gambling Addicts in Gothenburg, Sweden. I am grateful for the invaluable help and assistance received from members of the Society, in particular from the counselor Mattias Ekenberg and the assistant Gustav Sundgren, who shared their knowledge of mutual support and allowed me to participate in meetings.
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