ABSG Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms – Year Two
3 - The evidence base for treatment is developing but incomplete
The NIHR systematic review of the literature on interventions was published in January 2021125. It captured over 1,080 records and found only 30 peer reviewed papers that met its criteria for inclusion. Overall, the review found poor quality reporting on gambling treatment studies and high attrition rates in the studies.
CBT showed the most evidence of effectiveness as an intervention126. Two clear gaps in evidence were identified – lack of screening interventions to identify individuals at risk and lack of evidence of ongoing support after initial treatment. No whole population screening studies were identified. There were no interventions to support on-going recovery and prevent relapse. One review reported over 50% of all incident problem gambling cases were previous problem gamblers who had relapsed127.
Like many others in the sector, ABSG look forward to PHE’s forthcoming evidence review, due to be published in the summer of 2021. This review will provide a comprehensive review of the quantitative and qualitative literature on gambling-related harms, risk factors associated with gambling harms and an analysis of the economic costs associated with gambling harms in the UK. These outputs will provide an important springboard for future work across the system. They will inform policy development, provide further context for measuring the aims of the National Strategy and inform the NICE guidelines work.
125 Interventions to reduce the public health burden of Gambling Related Harms: A mapping review of the international evidence (opens in new tab), Blank et al, NIHR/University of Sheffield (accessed 14 April 2021)
126 Gambling and substance use (opens in new tab), Petry et al, ScienceDirect, 2017
127 Predictors of relapse in problem gambling: a prospective cohort study (opens in new tab), Smith et al, 2015
Expansion of treatment and support services in new areas Next section
Need for more integrated treatment services
Last updated: 8 July 2021
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