Exploring and Understanding Online Assistance for Problem Gamblers: The Pathways Disclosure Model
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AbstractProblem gambling rates are increasing, but few of those requiring help receive it; stigma is often cited as a reason why treatment is not forthcoming. Such is the context for this study, possibly the first to examine Internet-based help for gambling problems. The study explored problem gamblers’ use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as a facet of their recovery. Fifty individuals responded to invitations to provide information via an electronic survey, based on their affiliation with a popular online support group known as “GAweb.” Seventy percent of the participants indicated that they had previously avoided attendance at face-to-face programs because of concerns related to stigma. Those who experienced the greatest degree of stigma were individuals who had not received any care. Exposure to GAweb was associated with participation in future treatment. Most reported that the ability to secretly lurk at GAweb contributed to their disclosure of personal information. These findings led to the development of the Pathways Disclosure Model to explain why online assistance may be of particular utility for some problem gamblers. The model and its implications are discussed.
Copyright © Masood Zangeneh, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction