by: NCRG Staff | Jun 26, 2013
A part of the NCRG’s outreach strategy is to attend and exhibit at meetings that help increase the awareness of gambling disorders among other co-occurring disorders, such as substance use problems. NCRG Senior Research Director Christine Reilly is exhibiting at the Research Society on Alcoholism’s annual meeting from June 22 to 26 and is visiting with many NCRG-funded researchers. Below is her take on the meeting so far.
The Research Society on Alcoholism is meeting in sunny Florida this week, and I’m here to connect with researchers and hear presentations by NCRG-funded investigators. The young field of gambling disorders often borrows interventions and treatment therapies from the more mature alcohol research area and, therefore, keeping up-to-date on brief interventions research is vital for the NCRG.
One example of this is Clayton Neighbors, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Houston who is currently working on an NCRG-funded online screening and brief intervention for college gambling, reported findings from a preliminary study that tested the use of expressive writing as an intervention for alcohol use among college students. Based on the research showing that keeping a diary has positive health effects, this project randomly assigned 201 students to three groups: one assigned to write a negative story about a drinking episode; a positive story about a drinking episode; and a story about the first day of college. (The two latter groups functioned as controls for the negative story group.) The objective was to see if writing about the negative alcohol experience resulted in intentions to drink less in the future.
Dr. Neighbors characterized the study as a promising start but with mixed results. The light drinkers who wrote about negative alcohol episodes indicated that they intended to imbibe less in the future. However, the heavier drinkers did not intend to adjust their future drinking. Future research on expressive writing as an intervention will be tweaked and expanded to cover behaviors as well as intention; measure shame and guilt; and perhaps provide multiple opportunities for writing.
We’ll be sure to ask Dr. Neighbors if such an intervention might be useful for college gambling. What do you think? Share your comments below.