Treatment seeking among Ontario problem gamblers: results of a population survey

Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Nov;59(11):1343-6. doi: 10.1176/ps.2008.59.11.1343.


Objective: This study examined help seeking for gambling concerns among people with different levels of gambling problems.

Methods: Ontario adults who had gambled more than dollars 100 (N=4,217) and who screened positive for a possible gambling problem (N=1,205) were classified according to gambling problem severity and asked about their experiences with gambling treatment.

Results: Only 6% of gamblers had ever accessed a service, including a self-help group or self-help materials. With self-help materials excluded, only 3% of gamblers (from 1% of those who met only the initial CLiP screening criteria to 53% of those with pathological gambling) had sought treatment for gambling.

Conclusions: Few gamblers sought treatment for gambling problems; greater problem severity was associated with greater likelihood of using treatment, with self-help materials used most often. Further research is needed on why treatment seeking is low and on the effectiveness of self-help resources in reaching gamblers with problems in earlier stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*