Treatment of Pathological Gambling: A Critical Review of the Literature

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The legalization and availability of new forms of gambling are increasing in most Western countries. This trend has contributed to the fact that more individuals are developing gambling problems. As a result, there is a need for effective treatments. Although gambling treatment dates several decades, few empirically supported treatments for pathological gambling have been developed. This critical review includes only controlled treatment studies. The primary inclusion criterion was randomization of participants to an experimental group and to at least 1 control group. Eleven studies were identified and evaluated. Key findings showed that cognitive-behavioral studies received the best empirical support. Recommendations to improve gambling treatment research include better validated psychometric measures, inclusion of process measures, better definition of outcomes, and more precise definition of treatments.

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