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Who Goes to Treatment? Predictors of Treatment Initiation among Gambling Help-Line Callers

Authors


Address correspondence to Dr. Ledgerwood, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 3901 Chrysler Service Dr., Detroit, MI 48201. E-mail: dledgerw@med.wayne.edu.

Abstract

Background and Objectives

Although the consequences of problem gambling can be severe, few ever seek treatment for this disorder. Problem gambling help-lines represent a crucial point of entry into the treatment system. Through brief telephone counseling, help-lines have the potential of enhancing callers' motivations to engage in longer-term treatment. We prospectively examined treatment initiation and its predictors among individuals calling a state help-line.

Methods

Participants (n = 143) were assessed shortly after their initial call and re-contacted at least two months later.

Results

Overall 67% of the re-contacted help-line callers had attended at least one treatment session at the time of the follow-up interview (92.7% formal treatment and 28.1% peer-support meetings). Multivariate analysis revealed that gambling-related financial difficulties and past treatment for problem gambling (but not for mental health or substance abuse) predicted treatment initiation.

Conclusions and Significance

Enhanced counseling focusing on motivational factors may result in better treatment engagement for some problem gamblers. (Am J Addict 2013;22:33-38)

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