Significant others and gambling treatment outcomes

J Gambl Stud. 2008 Sep;24(3):381-92. doi: 10.1007/s10899-008-9092-x. Epub 2008 Mar 5.


Aims: This study investigates the effect of significant others on treatment outcomes among treated pathological gamblers.

Design: This is a cohort study of individuals who received gambling treatment.

Setting: Oregon Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) for gamblers and their family members.

Participants: 4,410 adult gamblers who were discharged from treatment between August, 2001 and April, 2007.

Measurements: OPGS enrollment forms provided gambler gender, age, ethnicity, education level, employment status, gambling-related debt, and whether the gambler had a significant other at the time of enrollment. Termination forms provided information on the type of discharge (successful/unsuccessful) and treatment length (in days). Participation of the gambler's significant other in the family treatment program was identified.

Findings: Results showed that age, ethnicity, gambling debt, and having a significant other are associated with the odds of successful treatment. Education level moderates the effect of having a significant other on treatment success. Age, ethnicity, education, employment, and having a significant other participate in treatment significantly impacted gamblers' length in treatment.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that there may be a benefit to integrating significant others in gambling treatment methods. Significant others may act as social supports for gamblers seeking treatment, and involving loved ones in gambling treatment models may positively affect gambler treatment outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / therapy*
  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Social Support*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome