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Reaching out to big losers: Brief motivational contact leads to sustained reductions in gambling over one year
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3908-5841
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2172-8813
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Background and aims: We previously demonstrated that phone and letter-based motivational interventions with high expenditure gamblers had significant short term positive effects on gambling and use of responsible gambling tools. This report examines outcomes over twelve months.

Design: A randomized controlled trial design with three conditions: feedback intervention by telephone, letter, or a no-contact control condition.

Setting: Customers of Norsk Tipping gambling platforms.

Participants: 1,003 statistical triplets from the top .5% of customers based upon annual expenditure, matched on sex, age, and net losses.

Measurements: Primary outcome measure was gambling theoretical loss, derived from the Norsk Tipping customer database. Secondary outcomes were responsible gambling customer actions and whether the participant was retained as a NT customer.

Findings: The results showed a positive and sustained effect of the phone and letter interventions over 12 months - the telephone group showed a 30% reduction in theoretic loss (d =0.44) and the letter group 13% (d =0.18), both outperforming the control group with a 7% reduction (d =0.11). The phone condition was superior to both the letter and control conditions in per protocol (p<0.001) and intention to treat analyses (ITT) (p< 0.018 and 0.001). Individuals in the phone condition took more responsible gambling actions. The letter condition had better outcomes than the control in the ITT only (p<0.001). Over 99% in the intervention groups were still customers during the follow-up year.

Conclusions: A targeted telephone intervention with high expenditure customers effectively reduced theoretical losses over a 12 month period. Gambling companies can utilize this type of intervention as a response to their duty to care for customers.

Keywords [en]
Behavioral feedback, Motivational intervention, Problem gambling, Prevention, Responsible gambling, long term effect
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172361OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172361DiVA, id: diva2:1346368
Available from: 2019-08-27 Created: 2019-08-27 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Preventing problem gambling: Focus on overconsumption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Preventing problem gambling: Focus on overconsumption
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A proportion of gamblers experience problems. The role of overconsumption in developing gambling problems is sparsely described in the literature and there is little scientific knowledge about the prevention of gambling problems. There are some promising results regarding personalized feedback on gambling habits, and there is a need for more research. The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the role of overconsumption in problem gambling and target it in a preventive intervention. The preventive intervention was to give gambling consumption feedback to high consumers in order to make them reflect upon their gambling habits and enhance their motivation for change. Study I aimed to explore the dimensionality of GamTest, an online test of gambling behaviour, and validate it against PGSI and the gambler’s own perceived problems. Data came from four Nordic gambling sites, n = 10,402. In an ESEM analyses, GamTest had a high degree of correspondence with the players’ own perceived problems and with the PGSI. In an EFA, GamTest captured five dimensions of problematic gambling (i.e. overconsumption of money and time, and negative financial, social and emotional consequences). A bifactor approach showed a general factor and four specific residual factors, negative emotional consequences contribute to the dominant part of the general factor. Study II aimed to examine both the psychometric properties of the Jonsson-Abbot Scale (JAS) and its predictive validity with respect to increased gambling risk and problem gambling onset. The results are based on repeated interviews with 3,818 participants within the Swedish longitudinal gambling study. The results indicate an acceptable fit of a three-factor solution in a CFA, with ‘Overconsumption (OC),’ ‘Gambling fallacies (GF),’ and ‘Reinforcers (RI)’ as factors. When controlled for risk potential measured at baseline, GF and RI were significant predictors of gambling risk potential, and GF and OC were significant predictors of problem gambling onset at 12-month follow up. Study III’s primary objective was to investigate the effects of providing personalized feedback on gambling intensity among high consumers in Norway. An RCT design was used to evaluate how behavioural feedback by telephone or letters affects subsequent gambling expenditure. A sample of 1,003 statistical matched triplets, from the top 0.5 % of customers, were randomly assigned to telephone, letter, or a no-contact control condition. Over 12 weeks, theoretical loss decreased 29 % for the telephone, and 15 % for the letter, conditions, compared with 3 % for the control group. Study IV was a 12-month follow-up of Study III, aimed to investigate the relative effects over twelve months. The telephone group showed a 30 % reduction in theoretical loss, the letter group 13 %, both outperforming the control group with a 7 % reduction. Less than 1% in all groups stopped playing at Norsk Tipping. These four studies indicate that overconsumption of gambling plays different roles in problem gambling. The role of overconsumption in preventing gambling problems is discussed. Contacting high consumers about their gambling expenditure appears to be an effective method for gambling companies to meet their duty of care for customers. Technical evolution has made it possible for gambling companies to fulfil their duty of care, but this has to be regulated and mandatory if it is to be effective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 109
Keywords
gambling, problem gambling, prevention, overconsumption, responsible gambling, online self-test, ESEM, psychometric properties, predictive, longitudinal, CFA, gambling fallacies, reinforcers, personalized behavioural feedback, motivational interviewing, gambling expenditure, RCT, 12-month follow-up, spel om pengar, problematiskt spelande, prevention, överkonsumtion, spelansvar, online självtest, ESEM, psykometriska egenskaper, prediktiv, longitudinell, CFA, tankefällor om spel, psykologiska förstärkare, personifierad återkoppling på beteende, motiverande samtal, spelutgifter, RCT, 12-månaders uppföljning
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172446 (URN)978-91-7797-743-8 (ISBN)978-91-7797-744-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-18, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2019-09-25 Created: 2019-08-30 Last updated: 2019-09-16Bibliographically approved

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