Family Coping Treatment Group for Chinese Help-Seeking Family Members of Problem Gamblers

Mei Lo Elda Chan, Tan Lei Daniel SHEK, Nam Ying Daphne YEUNG, Hing Yan Ryan WONG


Despite substantial evidence that problem gambling is associated with a wide range of family difficulties, only limited effort has been devoted to studying family coping styles as a direct impact of problem gambling on families. In particular, studies on the above issues amongst Chinese communities are non-existent. During March 2011 to February 2012,a study on “Problem gambling and family violence in Chinese help-seeking clients: prevalence, impact and coping” was conducted. A total number of 182 gamblers and 103 family members were interviewed. Results showed significant correlations between family coping styles and family impacts. As recommended by the study, a family treatment group focusing on enhancement of family coping ability was developed. The purpose of this study was to measure the effectiveness of this family coping treatment group.10 family members of gamblers were recruited voluntarily from Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Even Centre, which is a treatment centre for pathological gambling in Hong Kong. The family coping treatment group consisted of ten weekly sessions. The group was designed to help family members identify the development of their particular coping styles, and to provide psycho-education on how different ways of family coping styles would impact on problem gamblers and the family. The group aimed to enhance their family coping abilities through exercises of exploration, self-reflection and skill rehearsal. Results from post-test evaluation indicated that participants showed significant improvement on coping skills and reduction on their stress levels. The family coping treatment group showed promising results as an effective treatment programme. As the current service provision is fragmented with little attention paid to family impacts and coping, the findings of this research will provide the basis of for further development of family coping programme in gambling treatment.

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