Academic journal article Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Gambling Prevention Program for Teenagers

Academic journal article Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Gambling Prevention Program for Teenagers

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to compare a program of rational emotive education plus specific primary prevention (developed for restructuring erroneous information about gambling) with a rational emotive education program. Participants were randomized (N = 75, age 12-13) into three groups: 1) Control; 2) Rational emotive education plus specific information about games using the interactive software "Amazing Chateau"; and 3) Rational emotive education. All teenagers filled a 38 items questionnaire regarding their knowledge about gambling, at the beginning and at the end of the study (after 10 weekly meetings). Each item had three answering options, teenagers being asked to choose only one correct answer. The results of the study confirmed that using primary prevention tools designed specifically for gambling activities, along with programs which improve socio-emotional development, as rational emotive education does, is more efficient than using rational emotive education by itself. Results were maintained at follow up (3, 6, 9, and 12 month). Results demonstrate that school programs should include specific primary prevention activities for gambling along with rational emotive education in order to restructure erroneous information about gambling in teenagers. This study tried to satisfy the need for evidence-based research about prevention programs for gambling, demonstrating that specific prevention programs targeting gambling should be combined with rational emotive education in order to have better and long lasting results.

Keywords: gambling, adolescent, prevention, rational emotive education (REE), "Amazing Chateau"

Introduction

During the past years gambling has become a subject of interest for researchers and clinicians (Griffiths, 2003). The most important prevalence studies were conducted in highly developed countries such as USA, Canada, and UK, at both regional and national levels (Griffiths, 2009). Research in the Eastern countries started later, but used the experience of the former mentioned countries. The majority of the previous studies offered prevalence rates for gambling problems, although at the moment there is still a need for well-constructed and validated instruments of screening and diagnosis in the case of teenagers (Blinn-Pike et al., 2010). The most important implication mentioned by most of the studies is the need for data about the effect of prevention programs. Also, authors agree that prevention programs should inform teenagers about the consequences of excessive gambling (Dickson et al., 2002).

Until 2012 there have been few published studies on gambling prevention programs for children and adolescents. The first three studies were conducted in Canada and the fourth in USA. Gaboury and Ladouceur (1993) tested a gambling prevention program on high school students. They presented three 75-minute informational sessions conducted over a 3-week period and followed-up 6 month later. The results showed that the students in the experimental group improved their knowledge about gambling compared with the control group, which did not. The improvement was maintained at the 6 month follow-up (Gaboury & Ladouceur, 1993). Ferland, Ladouceur and Vitaro (2002) tested a 20-minute intervention video to determine if it changed Canadian children's illusion of control over the output of the game. They randomly assigned children to four conditions (video only, lecture only, video and lecture, and control group). They found that the three experimental conditions were more effective in changing misconceptions about personal control over gambling compared with the control group. No follow-up data were collected (Ferland et al., 2002). Lavoie and Ladouceur (2004) involved 273 French-speaking students (5th and 6th grades) to test a video designed to: (a) increase knowledge about gambling and (b) correct inaccurate knowledge. The effectiveness of the video was evaluated using two experimental conditions and one control condition. …

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