Helping teenagers with gambling problems



This research project intended to evaluate the treatment effectiveness of the problem gambling program offered to youth who were inpatients at Les Centres Grand Chemin treatment centres.

The researchers encountered several problems concerning the project, including difficulty recruiting young people with serious gambling problems. During the project's developmental stage, the treatment centres indicated that they had treated sufficient numbers of problem gamblers in the past, but this was not the case during the period of the research project.

The treatment approach used by the centres appears to be effective.

While the study was not completed according to established protocol, 14 youth were recruited for the project, and 9 completed the treatment program. Due to the limited participation rates, the results must be viewed as preliminary and will need to be replicated in further studies.

The results of the study are encouraging. The treatment approach used by the centres appears to be effective. Given that a gambling problem impacts many facets of a person's life, multiple measures were used to evaluate treatment effectiveness (emotional health and family relationships in addition to gambling behaviour and attitudes).

The program succeeded in addressing the gambling problems and erroneous gambling beliefs of the young participants. The results indicate that seven of the nine participants who completed the treatment have no intention of gambling in the future, and the same 78% indicated feeling confident of their ability to control future gambling behaviour. Emotional health (depression and suicidal tendencies) and parent-child relationships improved as well; this is an important finding that contributes to our knowledge and understanding of gambling behaviour. Further studies using other participants are suggested.

Main researcher

Jeffrey Derevensky, McGill University

Summary

Research report

Appendices

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: April 2012