Project Name: NSIGHT
Principal Investigator: Mary Larimer, PhD
Grant Title: Web-based Screening and Brief Intervention for Disordered Gambling among Emerging Adults
Sponsor: National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG)
Project Period:4/1/12-3/31/14
Grant Number: n/a
Project Coordinator: Ty Lostutter

Young adults (ages 18-24) have higher prevalence of disordered gambling relative to the general population and a subset of those who gamble experience substantial harm. Despite this potential for harm, there is a dearth of literature on efficacious intervention approaches targeting the critical time period of early adulthood. The literature on treatment of pathological gambling in adults suggests cognitive behavioral therapy is associated with improvements in gambling outcomes. Motivational interviewing (MI) has also been suggested as a potential treatment for pathological gambling Both CBT and MI integrated with brief skills training and personalized feedback (Personalized Feedback Intervention; PFI) have been shown to be efficacious in reducing or preventing other high risk behaviors in college samples, with effects lasting up to 4 years for behaviors such as alcohol use.

Research by Takushi et al. and Larimer et al. have established that in-person PFI sessions using MI style to facilitate discussion around gambling, guided by a computer-generated personalized feedback sheet, are efficacious in reducing gambling frequency, gambling problems, and symptoms of pathological gambling, relative to assessment only (AO). There is emerging support for the efficacy of PFIs in the absence of in-person MI sessions. Both mailed and computerized motivational feedback results in reductions in alcohol use among students. PFIs delivered through mail or electronic format have advantages with respect to cost, participant burden, and increased access in comparison to in-person interventions. Research indicates students are less likely to access time intensive interventions and those most needing services may be less likely to attend. Thus, for indicated prevention, web-based Personalized Feedback Interventions (PFI) may potentially increase reach, access and participation at relatively low individual cost. The proposed research team has experience adapting brief PFIs for web-based applications and has extensive experience conducting large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of PFIs with college populations. The objectives of this study are to (1) assess gambling behavior and norms in a national sample of young adults (18-24) recruited through the use of social media; (2) develop a web-based screening and brief intervention by adapt the PFI tested by Larimer et al.(19) to serve as a stand-alone, web-based intervention utilizing personalized feedback based on participants’ assessment responses and incorporating additional information, skills training tips, and referrals as appropriate to their individual profile; (3) utilize a RCT design to evaluate the efficacy of the web-based PFI in comparison to AO among at-risk and disordered gambling students, assessed at baseline, 3- and 6-month follow-up; and (4) evaluate hypothesized moderators and mediators of intervention efficacy.