This study will evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive motivational behavior therapy (CMBT)
in treating pathological gamblers.
Pathological gambling is developing into a serious public health problem. The rise in
gambling problems has stimulated treatment studies, but little progress has been made. A
particular concern is the high dropout rates from treatment studies; gamblers often seek
treatment, but fail to complete it and relapse. This study will test the effectiveness of
CMBT in helping to increase retention rates in gambling treatment studies.
The first step in this study is designed to enhance gamblers' readiness for change. When
participants are committed to change, CMBT will then address specific cognitive biases
regarding the notion of randomness, which is thought to lie at the heart of gambling
problems. Behavioral components will also be used to enhance gamblers' coping skills.
The participants in this study will be randomly assigned to either CMBT or a Gambler's
Anonymous control group. Participants will be assessed prior to and after treatment and at
3- and 6-month follow-up visits. Interviews and questionnaires will be used to assess
- DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling
- Eighth grade reading ability
- Reside in the Albany, NY area
- Diagnosis of serious psychopathology, including psychosis, bipolar disorder, or
alcohol or other substance dependence