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Identifying Barriers to Treatment Among Women Gamblers

Bulcke, Gina M. (2007) Identifying Barriers to Treatment Among Women Gamblers. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Ninety female gamblers identified barriers to gambling treatment. These data suggest that the women in this study are a homogeneous group: middle aged (M = 47 years), Caucasian (86%), married or living with their partner (46%), had children (77%), completed a post secondary education (53%), employed full or part-time (67%), with personal incomes less that $35,000 (61%), and household incomes between $35,000 to $79,999 (51%). Moreover, most were recruited by referral from the GA conferences or GA members (70%) and were living in Ontario, Canada (37%).The Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions and the South Oaks Gambling Screen were the two instruments used in this study to measure gambling severity. The average score on the GA20 was 17 and the SOGS was 13. Almost the entire sample (99% for the GA20 and 98% for the SOGS) can be considered to be compulsive or probable pathological gamblers. The majority (81%) of women in this study received some type of formal help for their gambling problem. Forty-three percent received outpatient treatment, 41% received crisis help, and 27% received residential or in-patient treatment. All but one woman accessed informal help, including 91% who sought help from Gamblers Anonymous and 38% received help from the Internet support group CGHub. Eighty-four percent reported feeling seriously depressed; 74% related their depression to gambling. Thirty-three percent reported having attempted suicide; 57% related their suicide attempt to gambling. Almost half (47%) received treatment in adulthood for a mental health or addictive disorder other than gambling, of which 60% were treated for depression. Barriers to treatment were identified within 3 broad domains: individual, socio-environmental and programmatic issues. Correlations among the three barriers subscales were positive and statistically significant. Individual barrier items were identified most often and programmatic barriers were identified least often. The barrier item "gamble to deal with the stress of daily life" was most frequently endorsed. Respondents who received formal treatment reported statistically more barriers and had higher individual and socio-environmental barrier subscale scores than non-formal treatment seekers. These findings suggest that women gamblers in this study have sought help from both formal and informal help systems. Key barriers to treatment are psychological and emotional issues. The women disclose turbulent personal and family histories and significant issues of comorbidity and concurrent life stressors, which may have important clinical implications in providing appropriate and effective treatment to women addicted to gambling.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bulcke, Gina
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairEngel, Rafaelrengel@pitt.eduRENGEL
Committee MemberMartin, Christophermartincs@upmc.eduCSMART
Committee MemberMaguire, Lambertburt@pitt.eduBURT
Committee MemberWexler,
Date: 13 December 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 December 2007
Approval Date: 13 December 2007
Submission Date: 9 December 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ; Treatment barriers; Women gamblers
Other ID:, etd-12092007-152611
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:38


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