Problem and pathological gamblers demonstrate high levels of depression, which may be related to coping styles, reactive emotional states, and/or genetics (Potenza et al., Arch Gen Psychiat 62(9):1015-1021, 2005; Getty et al., J Gambl Stud 16(4):377-391, 2000). Although depression impacts treatment outcomes (Morefield et al., Int J Men Healt Addict 12(3):367-379, 2013), research regarding depression among gamblers in residential treatment is particularly limited. This study attempts to address this deficit by examining the course of depressive symptoms among clients at a residential gambling program in the Western United States. Forty-four adults were administered a weekly measure of depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II, BDI-II) for eight consecutive weeks. Levels of depression were classified into three groups based on standard scoring criteria for the BDI-II: no/minimal, mild/moderate, and severe depression. Results from a mixed-model analysis indicated a main effect for group and time, as well as an interaction between group and time. Examination of the slopes for the rate of change for the three depression groups indicated no change in the non-depressed group and a decrease in depression scores over time for both the mild/moderate and severely depressed groups. The slopes for the two symptomatic depression groups were not significantly different, indicating a similar rate of change. We speculate that reductions in depression symptoms may be related to feelings of self-efficacy, environmental containment/stabilization, and therapeutic effects of treatment. These results help to illuminate the role of significant processes in residential treatment, including initial stabilization, insight, self-efficacy, and termination.
Keywords: Beck Depression Inventory-II; Depression; Pathological gambling; Problem gambling; Residential gambling treatment.