Scientific article
Open access

Effectiveness of a web-based self-help tool to reduce problem gambling: A randomized controlled trial

Published inJournal of behavioral addictions, vol. 12, no. 3, p. 744-757
Publication date2023-10-05
First online date2023-09-01

Background and Aims: Problem gambling constitutes a public health concern associated with psychopathological comorbidity, substance use, and financial difficulties. Most individuals with gambling problems avoid counseling services due to perceived stigma and their preference for self-reliance. Treatment accessibility could be improved through web-based interventions.

Methods: We recruited 360 individuals with gambling problems and randomized them to a web-based intervention ( n = 185) or an active control group consisting of a self-help manual for problem gambling ( n = 175). The primary outcome was the number of days of gambling in the last 30 days. Secondary outcomes included money spent in the last 30 days, time gambling in the last 7 days, gambling-related problems, consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, and psychopathological comorbidity measured at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up.

Results: The primary outcome decreased significantly for both groups, with no significant difference between the groups. There were significant group × time interactions according to the Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale ( F = 8.83, p <0 .001), the Problem Gambling Severity Index ( F = 3.54, p = 0.030), for cigarettes smoked in the last 7 days ( F = 26.68, p < 0.001), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 ( F = 19.41, p <0 .001), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 ( F = 41.09, p <0 .001) favoring the intervention group. We experienced an overall high dropout rate (76%).

Conclusions: Win Back Control seems to be an effective low-threshold treatment option for individuals with gambling problems that might otherwise be unapproachable for outpatient treatment services. Nevertheless, the high dropout rate should be considered when interpreting the study results, as they may have introduced a degree of variability.

  • Comorbidity
  • Online
  • Problem gambling
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Self-help tool
  • Web
  • 16 SOS-Spielsucht-Cantons, Health Promotion Switzerland -
  • Canton of Zurich -
Citation (ISO format)
BOUMPARIS, Nikolaos et al. Effectiveness of a web-based self-help tool to reduce problem gambling: A randomized controlled trial. In: Journal of behavioral addictions, 2023, vol. 12, n° 3, p. 744–757. doi: 10.1556/2006.2023.00045
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2062-5871

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