Randomized Trial of Brief Motivational Treatments for Pathological Gamblers: More Is Not Necessarily Better
The efficacy of brief treatments for media-recruited pathological gamblers was tested in a randomized clinical trial design (N = 314). Two self-directed motivational interventions were compared with a 6-week waiting list control and a workbook only control. Brief motivational treatment involved a telephone motivational interview and a mailed self-help workbook. Brief motivational booster treatment involved a telephone motivational interview, a workbook, and 6 booster telephone calls over a 9-month period. Primary outcomes were gambling frequency and dollar losses. As hypothesized, brief and brief booster treatment participants reported less gambling at 6 weeks than those assigned to the control groups. Brief and brief booster treatment participants gambled significantly less often over the first 6 months of the follow-up than workbook only participants. However, the workbook only participants were as likely to have significantly reduced their losses over the year and to have not met criteria for pathological gambling. Contrary to the hypothesis, participants in the brief booster treatment group showed no greater improvement than brief treatment participants. These results provide further support for the value of brief motivational treatments for pathological gambling.
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