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Reaching Out to Big Losers: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Brief Motivational Contact Providing Gambling Expenditure Feedback
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology. University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
2019 (English)In: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, ISSN 0893-164X, E-ISSN 1939-1501, Vol. 33, no 3, p. 179-189Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Gambling disorder is a public health issue in many countries, and expectations that the gambling industry protects individuals from harm are increasing. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effects of providing personalized feedback on gambling intensity among high consumers of venue-based and online gambling in Norway. A randomized controlled trial design was used to evaluate how behavioral feedback by telephone or letters sent via surface mail affects subsequent gambling expenditure and use of responsible gambling tools and whether a follow-up contact increases the effect. Gambling expenditure, the primary outcome, was measured using theoretical loss, which is the actual cost to the player, adjusted for the house advantage. From the top .5% of customers based upon annual expenditure, a sample of 1,003 statistical triplets, matched on sex, age, and net losses, were randomly assigned to the feedback intervention by telephone, letter, or a no-contact control condition. Participants assigned to the phone call or letter were also randomly assigned to receive or not receive a subsequent follow-up contact. The results showed that over 12 weeks, theoretical loss decreased 29% for the phone and 15% for the letter conditions, compared with 3% for the control group. A positive effect of the follow-up contact was limited to participants who at the initial call indicated an interest in receiving a follow-up call. Contacting high consumers about their gambling expenditure appears to be an effective method for gambling companies to meet their duty to care for customers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 33, no 3, p. 179-189
Keywords [en]
behavioral feedback, problem gambling, prevention, responsible gambling, motivational interviewing
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168705DOI: 10.1037/adb0000447ISI: 000465625800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168705DiVA, id: diva2:1313866
Available from: 2019-05-06 Created: 2019-05-06 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically 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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