Do online gambling products require traditional therapy for gambling disorder to change? Evidence from focus group interviews with mental health professionals treating online gamblers

Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Jimenez-Murcia, S., Rius-Buitrago, A. and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2021. Do online gambling products require traditional therapy for gambling disorder to change? Evidence from focus group interviews with mental health professionals treating online gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies. ISSN 1050-5350

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Abstract

Online gambling has significantly altered the situational and structural characteristics of gambling products, to the extent that online gamblers might be substantially different from traditional offline gamblers. A growing body of literature has identified the evolving features of online gambling and the individuals who engage in it. However, beyond understanding the individual characteristics of this subgroup, relatively less effort has been made to examine whether existing cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) approaches are still entirely relevant for online problem gamblers, or whether changes are needed to adapt according to gambling mode of access. To understand what kind of challenges online gambling poses to mental health professionals dealing with disordered gamblers, four focus groups comprising 28 Spanish participants were carried out. All the treatment providers had ongoing experience with online gamblers undergoing treatment, and included clinical psychologists, mental health social workers, and a medical doctor. The data were examined using thematic analysis. The analysis identified five main themes that characterised online gamblers: (1) being of younger age, (2) lack of conflicts at home and at work/educational centre, rarely presenting violent or aggressive behaviour, (3) gambling disorder only being identified by overdue debt, (4) co-occurring conditions with technology-related abuse rather than other substance-related addictions, and (5) skill-based gambling. The study highlights mental health workers’ perceived insecurities about how to best treat online gamblers, and discusses the specific characteristics that CBT for gambling disorder might need to incorporate to adjust for this particular group of gamblers.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Gambling Studies
Creators: Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Jimenez-Murcia, S., Rius-Buitrago, A. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Date: 16 October 2021
ISSN: 1050-5350
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1007/s10899-021-10064-9DOI
1479867Other
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 19 Oct 2021 15:25
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 15:25
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44474

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