Predictors of outcomes of psychological treatments for disordered gambling: A systematic review

S.S. Merkouris, S.A. Thomas, C.J. Browning, N.A. Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


This systematic review aimed to synthesise the evidence relating to pre-treatment predictors of gambling outcomes following psychological treatment for disordered gambling across multiple time-points (i.e., post-treatment, short-term, medium-term, and long-term). A systematic search from 1990 to 2016 identified 50 articles, from which 11 socio-demographic, 16 gambling-related, 21 psychological/psychosocial, 12 treatment, and no therapist-related variables, were identified. Male gender and low depression levels were the most consistent predictors of successful treatment outcomes across multiple time-points. Likely predictors of successful treatment outcomes also included older age, lower gambling symptom severity, lower levels of gambling behaviours and alcohol use, and higher treatment session attendance. Significant associations, at a minimum of one time-point, were identified between successful treatment outcomes and being employed, ethnicity, no gambling debt, personality traits and being in the action stage of change. Mixed results were identified for treatment goal, while education, income, preferred gambling activity, problem gambling duration, anxiety, any psychiatric comorbidity, psychological distress, substance use, prior gambling treatment and medication use were not significantly associated with treatment outcomes at any time-point. Further research involving consistent treatment outcome frameworks, examination of treatment and therapist predictor variables, and evaluation of predictors across long-term follow-ups is warranted to advance this developing field of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-31
Number of pages25
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Gambling
  • Predictor
  • Systematic review
  • Treatment outcome

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