Therapist-delivered and self-help interventions for gambling problems: A review of contents

Simone Rodda, Stephanie Merkouris, Charles Abraham, David Hodgins, Sean Cowlishaw, Nicki Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
265 Downloads (Pure)


Background and aims

To date, no systematic approach to identifying the content and characteristics of psychological interventions used to reduce gambling or problem gambling has been developed. This study aimed to develop a reliable classification system capable of identifying intervention characteristics that could, potentially, account for greater or lesser effectiveness.

Intervention descriptions were content analyzed to identify common and differentiating characteristics. A coder manual was developed and applied by three independent coders to identify the presence or absence of defined characteristics in 46 psychological and self-help gambling interventions.

The final classification taxonomy, entitled Gambling Intervention System of CharacTerization (GIST), included 35 categories of intervention characteristics. These were assigned to four groups: (a) types of change techniques (18 categories; e.g., cognitive restructuring and relapse prevention), (b) participant and study characteristics (6 categories; e.g., recruitment strategy and remuneration policy), and (c) characteristics of the delivery and conduct of interventions (11 categories; e.g., modality of delivery and therapist involvement), and (d) evaluation characteristics (e.g., type of control group). Interrater reliability of identification of defined characteristics was high (κ = 0.80–1.00).

This research provides a tool that allows systematic identification of intervention characteristics, thereby enabling consideration, not only of whether interventions are effective or not, but also of which domain-relevant characteristics account for greater or lesser effectiveness. The taxonomy also facilitates standardized description of intervention content in a field in which many diverse interventions have been evaluated.

Application of this coding tool has the potential to accelerate the development of more efficient and effective therapist-delivered and self-directed interventions to reduce gambling problems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number44
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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