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The Australian National University

Current research projects

Targeting interventions for problem gambling in the ACT

Most individuals with gambling problems do not get specialist formal help, such as problem gambling treatment or initiating self-exclusion (Carroll et al., 2011 PDF 1.33 MB; Fogarty & Taylor-Rodgers, 2016 PDF 1.7 MB).  Aside of the role of serious consequences (such as marital separation) and of desperation (suicidal thoughts are linked to seeking formal help) we know little about the factors that encourage or discourage help seeking. About 1,300 individuals in the ACT at any time point will have serious problems with their gambling and a larger group of moderate risk gamblers (between 3,000 and 4,000) will be less seriously affected at the individual level but will contribute more to the overall burden at the community level simply because of their greater numbers. It is therefore important to determine practical and acceptable ways of approaching gamblers, so that people experiencing problems might best be directed to help.

This project will involve in-depth interviews with people who reported past or present gambling in the 2014 Survey on Gambling, Health and Wellbeing in the ACT. The interviews will ask people to reflect about their experiences with gambling, their health and wellbeing and their use and thoughts about a range of services. The main aim of the project is to develop a set of strategies by which people might best be directed to assistance and appropriate sources of information given the full range of gambling contexts.

This project is funded by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.

For further information contact the Primary Investigator Dr Tanya Davidson.

Information for participants (PDF 60KB).

Information for participants 2 (PDF 32KB).


The Client Longitudinal Study

This project addresses a number of gaps in our existing knowledge base relating to people with gambling problems who seek help and family members of people with gambling problems who themselves seek help, including the following:

• The pathways by which people with gambling problems reach treatment services.
• The factors associated with and the perceived reasons for engaging in and persisting with treatment and the factors associated with leaving treatment early rather than completing the program.
• The extent to which gambling-related problems recur in those who have had treatment.
• The level of and the need for future service contact among those who have previously had treatment, including help for difficulties other than problem gambling.
• The profiles of family members who present at problem gambling services.
• Experience of problem gambling and other services over time (past, present and future) as reported by family members.
• Family members’ additional needs for information and assistance. 

This project involves recruiting and interviewing clients with gambling problems from problem gambling services throughout New South Wales and the ACT. Clients will be followed up through their period of treatment and then for two years after they leave a service. Family members are also recruited from the same services and are similarly followed up through the period of contact with services. The study of family members includes both quantitative and qualitative components and involves at least one follow-up interview after leaving the service.

Overall, the research will provide a high-quality evidence base for informing strategies to encourage help-seeking for problem gambling, to better target services to service needs, to assist in the retention of clients in treatment programs, and to determine where and when systematic follow-up of former clients is warranted.

This project is funded by the ACT Problem Gambling Assistance Fund and the NSW Responsible Gambling Fund.

For further information about the pilot phase of this project, The Client Cohort Longitudinal Study Pilot

For further information see the study webpage, or you can email Dr Tanya Davidson.


Implications of Gambling and Problem Gambling for Family and Social Adjustment: Secondary Analyses of the Quinte Longitudinal Study

This research evaluates the nature of prospective and time-varying associations involving gambling and problem gambling and dimensions of family or interpersonal adjustment using data from the Quinte Longitudinal Study (Ontario). More specifically, the main objectives of the analyses are to:

• evaluate the influences of gambling and problem gambling on trajectories of change in dimensions of family adjustment (family functioning, marital satisfaction) and interpersonal functioning (social support), while controlling for effects of comorbid mental health problems;
• examine the specific and time-varying influences of particular gambling problems (e.g., financial difficulties, lying to conceal gambling) on family and interpersonal adjustment; and
• evaluate reciprocal influences of family and interpersonal adjustment on the development and maintenance of gambling and problem gambling.

This project is funded by a grant from Gambling Research Exchange Ontario to University of Bristol, U.K (Principal Investigator Sean Cowlishaw)..

For further information please contact the Principal Investigator Dr Sean Cowlishaw.


Development and Evaluation of an Online Gambling Self-Help Program: Effective Integration into Existing Victorian Services

This research is developing, trialling and evaluating an online self-help program for people with gambling problems. The project is a joint initiative of researchers at Deakin University, Turning Point (Monash), Statewide Gambling Therapy Service (Victoria) and the Australian National University.

This project is funded by a grant from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to Deakin University (Principal Investigator Nicki Dowling).

For further information please contact Associate Professor Nicki Dowling.


Updated: 17 January 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher