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Title: Investigating the Efficacy of the Gambling Decisions Program in Three Alberta Communities: Report of the One Year Community Trial
Authors: Robson, Ellie
Edwards, Joy
Smith, Garry
Newman, Stephen
Keywords: Gambling -- Treatment;Gamblers -- Treatment
Issue Date: Nov-2006
Publisher: Alberta Gaming Research Institute
Citation: Robson, E., Edwards, J., Smith, G., & Newman, S. (2006). Investigating the efficacy of the Gambling Decisions program in three Alberta communities: Report of the one year community trial. Edmonton, AB: Capital Health, Public Health.
Abstract: Excessive gambling emerged as a factor affecting the lives and health of adult Albertans in the mid-nineties. A prevalence study conducted in Alberta for AADAC to determine the extent of problem gambling indicated that gambling negatively affected the lives of approximately 5% of adult Albertans (Wynne Resources, 1998). At that time, the prevailing treatment offered to gamblers was based on the pathological/medical model which views gambling addiction as a disease that people are powerless to control. The only treatment goal was abstinence, regardless of the severity of the gambling-related problems. However, beginning in the 1980’s, international gambling researchers were cautiously advocating other treatment goals besides abstinence, including controlled gambling. These researchers asserted that the goal of abstinence “only,” encouraged people to delay seeking help (McGurrin, 1991; Rosecrance 1989; Walker 1992). In 1994, work began at the Edmonton Board of Health (now part of Capital Health) on the design of Gambling Decisions, an Early Intervention Program for Problem Gamblers. This program gave clients a choice of goals either to control their gambling, or to achieve abstinence. The one-year community trial of Gambling Decisions in the Capital Health region of Alberta in 1998-99 demonstrated the effectiveness of the program in helping problem gamblers gain control of their gambling. Participants significantly reduced money losses ($608 over a four week period at pretest to $73 at the one-year post-test), and they also reduced their problems related to gambling (Robson, Edwards, Smith, & Coleman, 2002). Although Gambling Decisions was found to be an effective treatment program for early stage problem gamblers, there was little uptake of the program by other agencies after the 1998-99 trial, even though its availability was publicized in Alberta. A possible explanation for this was the barriers that agencies who were considering offering Gambling Decisions faced, for example: • Gambling Decisions offered clients a choice of controlling their gambling while other programs proposed abstinence; • Traditional gambling treatment programs were not completely sold on Gambling Decisions; and • Agencies were not certain if they and their staff could deliver this type of gambling treatment program. Therefore, a second trial of Gambling Decisions involving three agencies in Alberta was undertaken in 2004-2005.
Appears in Collections:Institute Funded Reports

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