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To estimate trajectories of the gambling disorder (GD) severity for 12 months following a manualized cognitive-behavior-therapy (CBT) program, and to identify the main variables associated with each trajectory.
Latent Class Growth Analysis examined the longitudinal changes of n = 603 treatment-seeking patients with GD.
Five separate empirical trajectories were identified: T1 (n = 383, 63.5%) was characterized by the most highest baseline gambling severity levels and positive progress to recovery during the follow-up period; T2 (n = 154, 25.5%) featured participants with high baseline gambling severity and good progress to recovery; T3 (n = 30, 5.0%) was made up of patients with high gambling baseline severity and slow progress to recovery; T4 (n = 13, 2.2%) and T5 (n = 23, 3.8%) contained participants with high baseline gambling severity and moderate (T4) and poor (T5) progress in GD severity during the follow-up. Psychopathological state and personality traits discriminated between trajectories. Poor compliance with the therapy guidelines and the presence of relapses also differed between the trajectories.
Our findings show that patients seeking treatment for GD are heterogeneous and that trends in progress following treatment can be identified considering sociodemographic features, psychopathological state and personality traits. These results could be useful in developing more efficient interventions for GD patients.
DSM-5 proposed a new operational system by using the number of fulfilled criteria as an indicator of gambling disorder severity. This method has proven to be controversial among researchers and clinicians alike, due to the lack of studies indicating whether severity, as measured by these criteria, is clinically relevant in terms of treatment outcome. Additionally, numerous studies have highlighted the associations between gambling disorder and impulsivity, though few have examined the impact of impulsivity on long-term treatment outcomes.
In this study, we aimed to assess the predictive value of DSM-5 severity levels on response to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in a sample of male adults seeking treatment for gambling disorder (n = 398). Furthermore, we explored longitudinal predictors of CBT treatment response at a follow-up, considering UPPS-P impulsivity traits.
Our study failed to identify differences in treatment outcomes between patients categorized by DSM-5 severity levels. Higher baseline scores in negative urgency predicted relapse during CBT treatment, and higher levels of sensation seeking were predictive of drop-out from short-term treatment, as well as of drop-out at 24-months.
These noteworthy findings raise questions regarding the clinical utility of DSM-5 severity categories and lend support to the implementation of dimensional approaches for gambling disorder.
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