The WAGER Vol. 22 (4) – How Finnish and French treatment professionals view Gambling Disorder and its treatment

There has been a lot of focus in recent years on evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for problem gambling treatment. However, personal factors such, as familiarity with treatment modalities and socio-cultural experiences and beliefs, likely affect providers’ use of evidence-based practices. As an example, Finnish culture focuses more on individualism and their addiction treatment is centered around social work, while French culture focuses less on individualism and center treatment around medicine. This week, The WAGER reviews a study by Anja Koski-Jännes and Laurence Simmat-Durand exploring cultural differences among behavioral addiction treatment specialists from Finland and France.

What was the research question?
How do Finnish and French health care professionals differ in their beliefs’ about Gambling Disorder and its treatment?

What did the researchers do?
Anja and Laurence used convenience sampling to recruit 520 Finnish and 472 French behavioral health treatment providers to complete a survey. The survey asked participants to describe their beliefs about risk of developing problem gambling, recovery with and without professional treatment, and responsibility for creating and treating Gambling Disorder. The researchers used logistic regressions, controlling for known confounders, to assess differences between the treatment professional from the two countries.

What did they find?
As the Figure shows, French treatment providers were 2.8 times more likely than Finnish treatment providers to believe there was at least a fairly high risk of becoming addicted to gambling. The French were 1.5 times more likely than Finnish treatment providers to believe those with Gambling Disorder could recover without professional treatment and half as likely to believe you could recover with professional treatment. Finally, the French treatment providers were less likely than their Finnish counterparts to believe the individual more so than society held responsibility for solving their gambling problems

Figure. Comparison of Finnish and French behavioral health treatment professionals on gambling disorder, treatment, and recovery, adjusted for gender, age, education, profession, residence, and addiction work experience. Click image to enlarge.

Why do these findings matter?
Contrary to their more collectivist culture , and their emphasis on medical treatment for addiction, French treatment professionals were more likely to believe in the chances of recovery through self-change and less likely in recovery through professional treatment. This might be explained in part by the lower prevalence of gambling in France and their increased perception of risk of dependence. Future research should explore cultural differences more carefully and focus attention on how socio-cultural differences in treatment providers affect when and how they offer treatment for problem gambling.

Every study has limitations. What about this one?
The researchers relied on a convenience sample of treatment providers and only received back about half of the mailed surveys, limiting generalizability across treatment providers in each country.

For more information:
If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling or drug problems, please visit our addiction resources page.

— John H Kleschinsky

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