Brief motivational feedback and cognitive behavioral interventions for prevention of disordered gambling: a randomized clinical trial

Addiction. 2012 Jun;107(6):1148-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03776.x. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


Aims: The purpose of the current study was to evaluate feasibility and efficacy of two promising approaches to indicated prevention of disordered gambling in a college population.

Design: Randomized clinical trial with assignment to a personalized feedback intervention (PFI), cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI) or assessment-only control (AOC). PFI was delivered individually in a single session and included feedback regarding gambling behavior, norms, consequences and risk-reduction tips, delivered in a motivational interviewing style. CBI was delivered in small groups over four to six sessions and included functional analysis and brief cognitive correction, as well as identification of and alternatives for responding to gambling triggers.

Setting: College campus.

Participants: At-risk or probable pathological gamblers (n = 147; 65.3% male; group assignment: PFI, n = 52; CBI, n = 44; AOC, n = 51).

Measurements: Self-reported gambling quantity, frequency, consequences, psychopathology, normative perceptions and beliefs.

Findings: Relative to control, results at 6-month follow-up indicated reductions in both interventions for gambling consequences (PFI d = 0.48; CBI d = 0.39) and DSM-IV criteria (PFI d = 0.60; CBI d = 0.48), reductions in frequency for PFI (d = 0.48). CBI was associated with reduced illusions of control, whereas PFI was associated with reduced perceptions of gambling frequency norms. Reductions in perceived gambling frequency norms mediated effects of PFI on gambling frequency.

Conclusions: A single-session personalized feedback intervention and a multi-session cognitive-behavioral intervention may be helpful in reducing disordered gambling in US college students.

Trial registration: NCT00078273.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Gambling / economics
  • Gambling / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data