Exposure to a computer-hosted cognitive-behavioral intervention for pathological gambling: Impact on gambling symptomatology and disclosure of gambling participation in required counseling for adults receiving opiate substitution therapy for heroin addiction

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Cameron, Andrew E.
computer-hosted; gambling treatment; CBT for PG; Clinical Psychology
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This study examined the prevalence of pathological gambling (PG) in an urban methadone-maintenance population (n=125) using the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). In addition, those meeting criteria for PG, and other inclusion criteria (n=42), were randomly assigned to one of two 6-week treatment groups and given the opportunity to utilize a computer-hosted cognitive-behavioral treatment program for PG. Seventeen participants used the treatment program, but no effect was found on their gambling behavior as measured by the SOGS and Timeline Follow-back procedure. Predictive factors of PG severity and treatment response were examined. Overall, 47.1% of those sampled met criteria for probable PG (SOGS 5+) and 12.6% met criteria for potential PG (SOGS 3-4), which is higher than rates found at the same site in an earlier study (Ledgerwood & Downey, 2002; 17.7% 5+, 11.3% 3-4). Possible explanations for this high rate, such as overreporting of symptoms or the development of new casinos nearby, are outlined, as well as their potential effect upon treatment response and predictive factor data. The results of this study suggest that the use of screening data to calculate prevalence of a disorder may be problematic, and a methadone-maintenance population is not ideal for the computer-hosted intervention in its current form.