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Minimal and Brief Treatments for Pathological Gamblers

This study has been completed.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Information provided by:
University of Calgary Identifier:
First received: September 13, 2005
Last updated: February 13, 2009
Last verified: February 2009
The purpose of the study is to examine whether problem gamblers who receive therapy calls in addition to a self-help manual will be more likely to quit or cut back on their gambling when compared with problem gamblers who receive just the manual.

Condition Intervention Phase
Pathological Gambling Behavioral: Self-help treatment Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Minimal and Brief Treatments for Pathological Gamblers: Developing Effective Treatment Systems

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Calgary:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Days of Gambling [ Time Frame: 3,6,9 12 months ]
  • Money lost [ Time Frame: 3,6,9 12 months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Gambling problem severity [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
  • Psychiatric symptoms [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
  • Self-efficacy [ Time Frame: 3,6,9,12 months ]

Enrollment: 312
Study Start Date: July 2003
Study Completion Date: February 2009
Primary Completion Date: April 2006 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Brief self-directed treatment
self-help workbook plus motivational telephone intervention
Behavioral: Self-help treatment
Workbook "Becoming a Winner",
Other Names:
  • Bibliotherapy
  • motivational interviewing
Experimental: Self-directed plus telephone support
Self-help workbook, motivational telephone intervention plus telephone booster calls
Behavioral: Self-help treatment
Workbook "Becoming a Winner",
Other Names:
  • Bibliotherapy
  • motivational interviewing
Active Comparator: Workbook only
Workbook only
Behavioral: Self-help treatment
Workbook "Becoming a Winner",
Other Names:
  • Bibliotherapy
  • motivational interviewing
No Intervention: Waitlist
Six week waitlist

Detailed Description:

With gambling becoming more accessible, the occurrence of problems related to gambling are on the rise. The costs of problem gambling are enormous.There are social and economic costs, the gambler can sometimes lose a significant relationship, job, or commit an illegal activity. Pathological gamblers are also at risk for developing a general medical condition related to stress. There is a high risk of suicide and problem gamblers also have increased rates of mental health disorders. Relatively few people choose to attend formal treatment programs so it's important to provide a range of options to make treatment more accessible. The present study examines the effectiveness of minimal and brief interventions delivered by the telephone.

Comparison(s): The "Workbook Only Control" condition involves receiving the self-help booklet through the mail after a brief telephone assessment. The "Minimal Treatment" condition involves receiving the same workbook but also having a motivational enhancement intervention by telephone. The "Brief Treatment" condition provides the workbook, motivational enhancement, and follow-up support on six occasions spread over 36 weeks. The "Wait List Control" condition involves participants being assigned to a six week waiting list. Participants are assessed and after a six week waiting period they will have a reassessment at which time they will be sent the gambling self-help workbook.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Over age 17
  • Perception of a gambling problem and a score of 3 or higher (moderate risk) on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index.
  • Not involved in treatment at present.
  • Willingness to read a short book written in English as a major treatment.
  • Willing to have telephone contacts recorded.
  • Willing to provide follow-up data on gambling.
  • Willing to provide the name of a collateral to help locate them for follow-up interviews.
  • Must have gambled at least once in the past month

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Participants in the preliminary study will be excluded.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00203645

Canada, Alberta
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Calgary
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Principal Investigator: David C Hodgins, PhD. University of Calgary
  More Information

Responsible Party: David Hodgins, UCalgary Identifier: NCT00203645     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 110328 - CIHR
1016 - OPGRC
Study First Received: September 13, 2005
Last Updated: February 13, 2009

Keywords provided by University of Calgary:
Problem gambling
Self-help manual
Motivation enhancement
Telephone support
Pathological gambling

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on August 18, 2017