Preliminary evaluation of a coping skills training program for those with a pathological-gambling partner

J Gambl Stud. 2006 Jun;22(2):165-78. doi: 10.1007/s10899-006-9008-6. Epub 2006 Jul 14.


Individuals living with a pathological-gambling partner can experience significant psychological distress. In this report, we conduct a preliminary evaluation of a coping skills training program (CST) for this population. Twenty-three individuals experiencing stress from living with a pathological-gambling partner who was not in treatment were randomly assigned to either CST or a delayed treatment control (DTC) condition. CST consisted of ten, weekly individual sessions to teach more effective coping skills. At the end of the treatment/delay period, CST participants, relative to those in DTC, showed a large improvement in coping skillfulness that appeared to mediate a corresponding large significant reduction in depression and anxiety relative to DTC. Partner gambling during the period decreased in both conditions but did not differ between them, nor did partner help-seeking differ. CST shows promise as an effective treatment for individuals distressed as a result of a partner's gambling problem. Larger, longer-term evaluations of the intervention, and comparison with alternate treatment models are needed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Spouses / education*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome