Date of Award

5-11-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Ledgerwood, David

Second Advisor

Scoboria, Alan

Keywords

acceptability, brief motivational enhancement, feasibility, online intervention, problem gambling, service uptake

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

Those who struggle to control their gambling have been shown to experience a number of adverse consequences. Despite these difficulties, only a small percentage of problematic gamblers ever seek gambling treatment or services. As technology advances there is growing evidence that brief online interventions may be efficacious with this population. The present study tested the feasibility and acceptability of a new brief online intervention for those who struggle with their gambling. The intervention was theoretically based on the Health Belief Model, the Transtheoretical Model, and Motivational Interviewing. Participants completed a series of questionnaires about their gambling behaviours, perceived control over gambling, beliefs about their gambling problems, motivation for change and change efforts, and experienced and expected consequences of continued gambling. They also received personalized and normative comparison feedback. The development and administration of the online intervention was inexpensive relative to in person services but did encountered several technical difficulties. In total, 204 participants provided some data. Of those who accessed the website approximately two-thirds were experiencing one or more symptoms of Gambling Disorder. Participants generally found the website acceptable, however, there was a high within-intervention attrition rate. Most participants were in the contemplation stage of change and had low perceived gambling refusal self-efficacy. Perceived severity and perceived benefits from the Health Belief Model were found to account for 76% of the variance in the intent to seek help. There was a small partial mediation effect for readiness to change on the relationship between perceived severity and the intent to seek help. There was insufficient follow-up data to support statistical analysis of outcome variables. The website attracted the target population for the most part, however, future researchers will want to consider methods of increasing engagement and follow-up in this population such as increased incentives. Participants rated the website positively and case study data at follow-up suggest that further testing of brief online interventions such as Gauge Your Gambling is warranted.

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