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Gambler self-help strategies: A comprehensive assessment of self-help strategies and actions

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posted on 2018-07-10, 00:00 authored by D Lubman, S Rodda, Nerilee HingNerilee Hing, A Cheetham, T Cartmill, E Nuske, D Hodgins, J Cunningham
Even though most people who develop gambling problems do not seek treatment, many recover through their own volition. Historically referred to as natural recovery, there is growing evidence that a gambling problem rarely spontaneously resolves itself, rather resources, strategies, and actions are employed. Self-help is the most widely used type of help amongst gamblers, and the first choice of gamblers if a problem has developed. Despite this, self-help has largely only been examined as a component of studies investigating help-seeking or recovery from problem gambling, rather than in its own right. As such, previous studies have typically investigated the uptake and effectiveness of a small set of self-help strategies, largely drawn from qualitative interviews with gamblers who are in recovery. These retrospective accounts are important but limited in that they represent a select and often small subsample of the gambling population. As such, there is a need to look beyond the literature to document what strategies and actions are promoted by industry and government, as well the strategies that are endorsed by gamblers themselves. Building on the existing evidence, this multi-method project sought to develop a comprehensive list of self-help strategies and actions from a broad range of sources, as well as examine their uptake and helpfulness within an Australian context. Based on the previous literature, self-help was defined as the resources, strategies and actions people use to control or maintain change to their gambling that they do themselves, without necessarily interacting with other people. Compared to professional help, selfhelp strategies are characterised by being: (i) non-professionally administered; (ii) largely self-administered; and (iii) under personal control. Importantly, people can engage in self-help alone, as well as sequentially or concurrently with other forms of help, including from family and friends, peer support, mutual aid groups, and professional sources.


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State of Victoria, Department of Justice

Place of Publication

Melbourne, Vic.

Open Access

  • Yes

Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

External Author Affiliations

Turning Point, Eastern Health; Monash University; Southern Cross University; University of Calgary; Australian National University;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

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