A Meta-analysis of Brief Personalized Feedback Interventions for Problematic Gambling


Personal Feedback Interventions (PFIs) have been widely used to reduce the amount of time and money individuals spend on gambling. A central component of these interventions is personalized information about an individual's gambling behavior, often in comparison to others' gambling. The purpose of the present review and meta-analysis was to evaluate these interventions in terms of content, mode of delivery, target sample, and efficacy. Sixteen interventions from 11 studies were reviewed. We found a small, statistically significant effect in favor of PFIs versus control (d = 0.20, 95% CI 0.12, 0.27). Six moderators of intervention efficacy were explored. These interventions appeared to be most efficacious when used in populations of greater gambling severity, when individuals were provided with gambling-related educational information, and when used in conjunction with motivational interviewing. Factors associated with reduced efficacy include in-person delivery of feedback without motivational-interviewing and informing participants of their score on a psychological measure of gambling severity. Efficacy did not vary as a function of college or community samples. PFIs are a low cost, easily disseminated intervention that can be used as a harm-reduction strategy. However, more substantial effects may be attained if used as part of a larger course of therapy.

Publication Title

Journal of gambling studies