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Controlled Comparison of Aversive Therapy and Imaginal Desensitization in Compulsive Gambling

  • Nathaniel McConaghy (a1), Michael S. Armstrong (a1), Alex Blaszczynski (a2) and Clive Allcock (a3)

Summary

Twenty compulsive gamblers were randomly allocated, half to receive aversion-relief therapy and half to receive imaginal desensitization; both groups were followed-up for one year. Compared with those who received aversion-relief, gamblers who received imaginal desensitization reported a significantly greater reduction of gambling urge and behaviour; they also showed a significant reduction in trait anxiety at one year and in state anxiety at one month and one year following treatment. A high level of state anxiety at one month following treatment predicted failure to respond to treatment at one year in the subjects who received imaginal desensitization, but not in those who received aversion-relief. The relationship between reduction in anxiety and in gambling urge in response to imaginal desensitization was predicted from the theory that compulsive gambling is driven by aversive tension.

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Controlled Comparison of Aversive Therapy and Imaginal Desensitization in Compulsive Gambling

  • Nathaniel McConaghy (a1), Michael S. Armstrong (a1), Alex Blaszczynski (a2) and Clive Allcock (a3)

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