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Treatment for Family Members of People Experiencing Gambling Problems: Family Members Want Both Gambler-Focused and Family-Focused Options


Family member’s competing perspectives mean two distinct treatment approaches have developed (i.e., those focusing on the needs of the gambler, or the needs of the family), but little is known of what family members want if offered a choice. A convergent mixed-method design with 62 family members examined the experiences of those seeking help via an internet service. Fifty percent of participants requested gambler-focused options, such as advice and support on getting the gambler to change, supporting behaviour change and facilitating treatment seeking. Family-focused approaches (28%) were most frequently about improving the quality of the relationship, getting information on support options and help in managing the impact of gambling. Family members also requested a blended approach (22%) (e.g. how to support the gambler and how to deal with the negative impacts). These findings suggest interventions need to able to accommodate both gambler-focused and family-focused approaches.

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Co-funding for this study was by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) at Australian Institute of Family Studies, Australia. AGRC provided input into study design, but had no role in collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

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Authors and Affiliations



Authors A, B, E designed the study and wrote the protocol. Author A conducted the data analysis. Author A wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Simone N. Rodda.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors’ 3-year declaration of interest statement is as follows: SR, ND, AT, KB and DL have received funding from multiple sources, including government departments and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (through hypothecated taxes from gambling revenue). SR and ND have also received funding from the National Association for Gambling Studies (NAGS), a not-for-profit organisation with individual members across all stakeholder groups, which derives its funding from member fees and conference proceeds. At the time this research was funded AT was the Manager of the AGRC. None of the authors have knowingly received research funding from the gambling industry or any industry-sponsored organization.

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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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The data appearing in the manuscript has appeared in a report format and is available on the funder website (Australian Gambling Research Centre). However, this manuscript is substantially different to the descriptive data appearing in the report.

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Rodda, S.N., Dowling, N.A., Thomas, A.C. et al. Treatment for Family Members of People Experiencing Gambling Problems: Family Members Want Both Gambler-Focused and Family-Focused Options. Int J Ment Health Addiction 18, 1318–1334 (2020).

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