Home > Brief interventions for problem gambling: a meta-analysis.

Quilty, Lena C and Wardell, Jeffrey D and Thiruchselvam, Thulasi and Keough, Matthew T and Hendershot, Christian S (2019) Brief interventions for problem gambling: a meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 14, (4), e0214502. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214502.

External website: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.13...

BACKGROUND: Brief interventions have been increasingly investigated to promote early intervention in gambling problems; an accurate estimate of the impact of these interventions is required to justify their widespread implementation. The goal of the current investigation was to evaluate the efficacy of in-person brief interventions for reducing gambling behaviour and/or problems, by quantifying the aggregate effect size associated with these interventions in the published literature to date.

METHODS: Randomized controlled trials including the following design features were identified via systematic review: an adult sample experiencing problems associated with gambling; an in-person individual psychosocial intervention of brief duration (≤3 sessions); a control/comparison group; and an outcome related to gambling behaviour and/or problems.

RESULTS: Five records compared brief interventions to assessment only control; using a random effect model, brief interventions were associated with a small but statistically significant reduction in gambling behaviour across short-term follow-up periods versus assessment only control (g = -.19, 95% CI [-.37, -.01]). Aggregate effect sizes for gambling problems and long-term follow-up periods were not statistically significant. Five records compared brief interventions to longer active interventions; there was no significant difference between brief interventions and longer active interventions.

CONCLUSIONS: Results supported the efficacy of brief interventions for problem gambling compared to inactive control in the reduction of gambling behaviour; no differences were found across brief versus longer interventions for both gambling behaviour and problems. While these findings must be interpreted in the context of the limited number of studies and small magnitude of the combined effect sizes, the current meta-analysis supports the further investigation of the public health impact of these cost-effective interventions.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Review, Article
Drug Type
Behavioural addiction
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Psychosocial treatment method
Identification #
Public Library of Science

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