Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, v, 86 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Edelgard Wulfert

Committee Members

Mitch Earleywine, James Boswell


brief treatment, lottery gambling, motivational interviewing, problem gambling, scratch-off tickets, treatment mechanisms, Gambling, Compulsive gambling, Gamblers

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


We evaluated an intervention based on a digital gambling accelerator to ascertain whether the accelerator is equally effective as brief Motivational Interviewing (MI) to change gambling behavior compared to a control group. Frequent scratch-off lottery gamblers recruited from the community (42 at-risk and 45 probable pathological gamblers) were randomly assigned to either a digital gambling accelerator intervention, brief MI, or a control task. After the interventions, participants were offered the opportunity to purchase authentic scratch-off tickets using a portion or all of their participant remuneration ($30). Neither of the two active interventions reduced the purchasing of scratch-off tickets. However, changes in the urge to gamble as a result of either intervention, compared to controls, were found to mediate the effect of the interventions on purchasing of scratch-off tickets. Furthermore, linear mixed models analyses indicated that the linear trend of “days gambled” across follow-up phases in the accelerator condition was greater than for the brief MI and the control condition, whereas the latter two did not differ from each other. For “money spent gambling” the linear trend in the accelerator condition was significantly different from controls, whereas brief MI did not differ from controls. However, the difference between the accelerator condition and brief MI did not achieve statistical significance. Additionally, examination of simple main effects indicated that participants in the control condition did not reduce their gambling behavior, whereas participants receiving either one of the interventions gambled fewer days and spent less money at the two-week and four-week follow-ups compared to baseline; however, only participants in the accelerator condition differed significantly from controls. This study provides evidence that experiential interventions, such as a digital gambling accelerator, can impact several domains of problematic gambling and may be useful as brief interventions or adjuncts to other treatments for problem gambling.