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Internet gambling treatment programs: Online self-directed interventions for prevention and treatment of gambling problems


Australians spend more money per person gambling than people from any other country, around twice the average per capita expenditure of Western countries. Around 1% of adults in most Western countries experience disordered gambling causing harms to themselves and others; a further 4% experience serious sub-clinical gambling problems; and, on average, every problem gambler adversely affects the lives of another 6 people. The estimated societal and economic impact of gambling in Australia is $4.7 billion per annum. Classified as a behavioural addiction in DSM-5, ‘gambling disorder’ is comparable to substance-use disorders in terms of aetiology, biology, comorbidity, and treatment. Common harms include psychological distress, poor physical health, lack of sleep, stress, financial distress, relationship breakdown.

Estimates suggest that <10% of people with gambling problems seek treatment. Barriers include preference for self-help, stigma, and privacy concerns. E-mental health has demonstrated effectiveness for many disorders when offered as an adjunct to treatment, including increasing treatment adherence. Online self-guided treatments are particularly useful for individuals with lower gambling problem severity who have less motivation or need to engage in face-to-face interventions. Online treatments may act as a stand-alone intervention or work in conjunction with therapist or other professional support.

Online self-directed interventions may include treatment programs and interventions aimed to prevent gambling problems through targeted behavioural and cognitive change mechanisms.


Professor Sally Gainsbury.

Research location

School of Psychology

Program type



This project will contribute to the provision and evaluation of a stepped-care clinical offering for gambling at the Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic. The project will aim to develop and enhance stepped-care through online interventions particularly suited for people with lower levels of problem gambling severity and aim to prevent the exacerbation of gambling harms.
Methods will include a systematic review of the relevant literature. Students will work within a clinical and treatment setting using co-design principles to develop and evaluate relevant Internet interventions.

Additional information

The student will be based within the Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic and Technology Addiction Team, within the School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre. This will enable access to many opportunities in addition to the extensive resources provided to postgrad students by USyd.


HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving licence;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2943

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