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Simone Rodda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

She has worked in gambling treatment, education, and research for more than 20 years.

She is currently involved in multiple investigations involving e-mental health, self-help and brief interventions for problem gambling and other behavioural addictions.

Abstract: Progress in the psychology of help-seeking for gambling harm: Advances in addressing for engagement, retention, and evaluation.

Reducing gambling harm faces significant hurdles due to suboptimal engagement, retention, and evaluation of harm reduction and treatment options. It is well-established that a majority of individuals experiencing gambling harm do not seek help, particularly those with low or moderate harm levels. To address this first challenge, a deeper understanding of the psychology of help-seeking is necessary, prompting a re-evaluation of how we define and provide support for reducing gambling harm. The second challenge arises after people seek help, where sustaining ongoing engagement becomes a significant issue. Research shows that most people access support options only once or a few times, highlighting a disparity between recommendations and actual needs and desires. While the introduction of new harm reduction and treatment delivery methods, such as mobile apps and the internet, has expanded choices, online engagement remains less than optimal. Adopting a maxi-min approach, emphasising the delivery of the minimal number of techniques to maximise client outcomes, could help address this challenge. The third challenge is the limited information available regarding harm reduction and treatment effectiveness. There is currently very little information on whether client goals are achieved or if the intervention works for the vast majority who interact with the growing number and types of support options. Methods to enhance post-care evaluation may need to balance and build intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to boost completion rates.

This presentation outlines progress in addressing these important issues, featuring a discussion on the psychology of help-seeking. It includes a series of case studies on online assessment and linkage to care, supporting self-help with psychological techniques, tailoring interventions, and incorporating blended treatment approaches. The presentation underscores the importance of rethinking how we conceptualize and understand help-seeking, shifting away from the notion of failure and drop-out towards a more holistic client-centred approach to reducing gambling harm.


Declarations of conflict of interest: In the last three years, I have received research funding from multiple sources
including Health Research Council of New Zealand, Internet NZ and Ember charitable Trust. I have also received
research and consultancy funding from government agencies funded through hypothecated taxes from gambling
revenue. This includes the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, New South Wales Office of Responsible
Gambling and New Zealand Ministry of Health. I have not knowingly received research or consultancy funding from
the gambling, tobacco, or alcohol industries or any industry-sponsored organisation.

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