Objective: The objective is provide a framework concerning the minimum features of reporting efficacy of treatment in the problem gambling field. Research to date has not used uniform outcome measures and it is, therefore, difficult to compare the relative efficacy of various approaches. Some studies emphasize self-reported behavioural measures such as frequency and intensity of gambling whereas others emphasise change with respect to the criteria used to diagnose problem gambling or use composite measures of symptom severity in multiple domains involving gambling-related thoughts, urges, and behaviours.
Methods: An expert panel consensus.
Results: The proposed minimum features of reporting the efficacy of treatment outcome studies are: measures of gambling behaviour - the net expenditure each month, the frequency (in days per month) with which gambling takes place, and the time spent thinking about or engaged in the pursuit of gambling each month; measures of the problems caused by gambling - especially problems in the areas of personal health, relationships, financial, and legal; these measures can be complemented by additional measures of quality of life. measures of the processes of change - whatever mechanisms of change are assumed to occur.
Conclusions: We believe that these guidelines are broad enough to allow clinical research conducted from diverse perspectives to allow valid cross study evaluations of intervention studies. Such conditions will facilitate the development of empirically validated best practice guidelines for use by clinicians in the management of problem gambling.