Effects of Added Involvement From Concerned Significant Others in Treatments for Problem Gambling

Problem gambling is a public health concern affecting approximately 2.3 % of the Swedish population. Problem gambling also severely affects concerned significant others (CSOs). Several studies have investigated the effect of individual treatments based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), but less is known of the effect of involving concerned significant others in treatment. In a new study we that was just accepted we published the full study protocol. This study aims to compare an intervention based on behavioral couples therapy (BCT) involving a CSO with an individual CBT treatment to determine their relative efficacy. BCT has shown promising results in working with substance abuse, but this is the first time it is used as an intervention for problem gambling. Both interventions will be Internet-delivered and participants will receive written support and telephone support.

Methods and analysis: A sample of 120 couples will be randomized to either the BCT condition, involving both the gambler and the concerned significant others, or the CBT condition, only involving the gambler. Measures will be conducted weekly and at 3, 6 and 12 months follow-up. The primary outcome measure is gambling behavior as measured by Timeline Followback for Gambling (G-TLFB). This article describes the outline of the research methods, interventions and outcome measures used to evaluate gambling behavior, mechanisms of change and relationship satisfaction. This study will be the first study on BCT for problem gambling.

Ethics and dissemination: This study has been given ethical approval from the regional ethics board of Stockholm, Sweden. This study will add to the body of knowledge how to treat problem gambling and how to involve concerned significant others in treatment. The findings of this study will be published in peer-reviewed journals and published at international and national conferences.

Read the full paper:

Nilsson, A., Magnusson, K., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., & Hellner Gumpert, C. (2016). Effects of added involvement from concerned significant others in internet-delivered CBT treatments for problem gambling: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 6(9). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011974