Cognitive Changes in Pathological Gamblers Following a 28-Day Inpatient Program

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A cognitive explanation for pathological gambling (PG) posits that problem gambling behaviors are maintained by irrational beliefs and attitudes about gambling. However, it has never been shown that beliefs and attitudes about gambling are affected by treatment. This exploratory study examined the effect of a 28-day inpatient treatment program on beliefs and attitudes in pathological gamblers (PGs). The participants were 66 consecutive admissions to a Veterans Affairs inpatient program for PG. Participants completed a self-report measure of gambling-specific attitudes and beliefs at admission and again before discharge. Discharge scores indicated significant change (p< .001). The results of this study are preliminary but suggest that treatment may affect attitudes and beliefs about gambling. Controlled treatment outcome studies should include a measure of gambling attitudes and beliefs.

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