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New Grant from ABMRF: The Foundation for Alcohol Research
"The effect of tailoring a testimonial message on excessive drinking by personal relevance on implicit and explicit narrative persuasion," PI: Julia Braverman, Ph.D.
Research suggests that narrative persuasion (i.e., telling vivid stories to promote attitude change) might be an effective public health promotion technique. However, it is unclear whether making a narrative story more personally relevant increases its persuasiveness. This research program explores this possibility for excessive alcohol consumption. It is well known that alcohol abuse impairs various domains of life, e.g., health, social relationships, and career. The importance of these domains varies from person to person. Hence, some people are typically more concerned about their social relationships, whereas others pay more attention to their career, or health. We examine the effect of matching the message content to what individuals find most personally relevant with two experiments. For the first experiment, we will ask participants randomly assigned to read personally relevant, or not, stories about alcohol. We will determine whether matching personal relevance along three domains (relationships, career, or health) positively affects individuals’ psychological immersion into the story, alcohol related attitudes, and self-reported drinking. For the second experiment, we will use a priming technique to make a specific domain temporarily more salient (i.e., “activated”) to an individual. This will allow us to investigate if induced relevance to self can yield similarly positive alcohol-related health outcomes.
New Grants from NCRG
"A benchmark study for monitoring exposure to new gambling," PI: Sarah Nelson, Ph.D.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is nearing an historic change to its legal gambling landscape. The expansion of legal gambling opportunities to include large resort style casinos presents a unique opportunity to learn about the short- and long-term ramifications of such expansion on public health. Because this period represents a natural experiment within Massachusetts, there is a limited window of opportunity to collect accurate baseline data. To determine how new gambling opportunities impact the public's gambling-related health, it is imperative to establish baseline estimates of gambling-related behaviors and health prior to the opening of new gambling venues and then track the changes in these individuals' health and behavior across time. This pilot project will survey the Massachusetts arm of an existing nationally representative online panel about their current gambling behaviors, problems, and attitudes, as well as other leisure behaviors, spending habits, substance use, and mental health to establish a benchmark for a future long-term longitudinal investigation of the effect of gambling expansion on public health.
The final report for this study is now available on our Library and Archives page.
"Expanding the study of actual Internet gambling behavior: Exposure and adaptation with a newly opened market," PI: Heather Gray, Ph.D.
In this work, the Division on Addiction will partner with researchers from Reykjavik University and the University of Iceland to conduct an analysis of actual Internet gambling records from a regional Internet gaming provider. We will use these records to conduct an epidemiological description of gamblers and gambling behavior; to describe the gambling behavior of most active gamblers; to describe the gambling behavior of gamblers identified as "high risk;" and to describe gamblers' adaptation to new gambling opportunities. Results from these studies will provide a more complete description of how people gamble online.
New Grant from St. Francis House
"St. Francis House Linking, Evaluation, Assessment, & Data (LEAD) System," PI: Sarah Nelson, Ph.D.
The Division on Addiction continues its collaboration with St. Francis House, the largest day shelter in New England for homeless individuals, on the Linking, Evaluation, Assessment & Data System (LEAD). LEAD is a technological solution for conducting comprehensive assessments with St. Francis House guests, tracking their use of services and programs, and evaluating the impact of those programs and services. The Division has been working with SFH to develop and implement this comprehensive relational database system capable of tracking guests’ paths through SFH programs and services, integrating assessment information from multiple programs/services and times, and generating output at the individual and aggregate level. The purpose of such a system is to assess how well SFH is providing integrated services, how specific services can be improved, and whether certain services can be targeted to certain guests. In addition, the LEAD system will improve the intake and data collection processes at SFH, making it easier for SFH employees to collect, maintain, integrate, and share information about their guests.
New Grant from SAMHSA with the Duffy Health Center
SAMHSA Cooperative Agreements to Benefit Homeless Individuals
Harvard/Duffy Health Center Partnership through SAMHSA - Heather Gray, Ph.D.
will be the project evaluator for a cooperative agreement recently awarded
by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the
Duffy Health Center, Cape Cod’s leading provider of services to homeless and
at risk individuals. The three-year project will increase access to
permanent housing for chronically homeless persons, using strategies and
interventions based on Duffy’s successful integrated model of care that
includes outreach, benefits enrollment, case management, behavioral health
and primary care services and permanent supportive housing. Dr. Gray is
partnering with Duffy to evaluate outcomes related to best practices of
trauma-informed care, comprehensive case management, Motivational
Interviewing, and Housing First. Expected outcomes are to improve the
health, stability, and life functioning of the target populations; reduce
frequency and duration of emotional instability or relapse from substance
abuse; and increase housing stability. The Duffy Health Center was one of 20
agencies competing from across the country for the grant.
New research has identified that repeat DUI offenders often suffer from a number of psychiatric disorders (e.g., Shaffer et al., 2007), suggesting that untreated mental health issues contribute to the persisting rate of DUI. To combat this pressing public health problem and to build a foundation for expanded treatment, the Division of Addiction, with support from The Century Council, has begun work to develop and test a computerized clinical report generator tool, the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS), for use in DUI intervention and treatment settings. CARS will package a powerful mental health assessment tool, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI: Kessler & Ustun, 2004) with a user-friendly interface, increased flexibility, and immediate personalized output, to create a tool that can be used easily by DUI facility staff to screen DUI offenders and target interventions to address comorbid mental health issues. Dr. Ronald Kessler, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, co-director of the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Surveys, and an original developer of the CIDI, and his team are collaborating with the Division on the development of CARS.
Shaffer, H. J., Nelson, S. E., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Albanese, M., & Caro, G. (2007). The epidemiology of psychiatric disorders among repeat DUI offenders accepting a treatment sentencing option. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(5), 795-804.
Kessler, R. C., & Ustun, T. B. (2004). The World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13(2), 93-121.
For the original press release, click here.
New Online CME Course
Disordered Gambling in Your Practice: Information and Resources for Dealing with Disordered Gambling
Course Directors: Heather M. Gray, Ph.D., Debi A. LaPlante, Ph.D., and Howard Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S.
The Division is proud to announce the launch of our latest online CME course, Disordered Gambling in Your Practice: Information and Resources for Dealing with Disordered Gambling. The course is dedicated to increasing providers’ understanding of disordered gambling and its importance to their practice. To learn more about the course, or to register, please click here.
Recruitment Opportunities for Studies
Click here for more information about a smoking cessation study, as well as studies for veterans.
Florida Gambling Impact Study
Part 1, Section A: Assessment of the Florida Gaming Industry and its Economic Effects
Part 1, Section B: Assessment of Potential Changes to Florida Gaming Industry and Resulting Economic Effects
Part 2: Statistical Relationships between Gaming and Economic Variables for Communities
During fall 2013,
Spectrum Gaming Group released a comprehensive report about the impact of
expanded gambling for the State of Florida. The Division contributed to this
report, specifically providing an assessment of likely social costs
associated with expanded gambling. The final report is available here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/GamingStudy/.
Responsible drinking for women: A Harvard Medical School guide
Many women drink responsibly—but some have a
more troubled relationship with alcohol. Studies regarding the effects
of alcohol on women’s health are contradictory—and it’s not easy for
concerned women to get a clear picture of the perils and positives of
Using Cross-Game Behavioral Markers for Early Identification of High-Risk Internet Gamblers
Using actual gambling behavior provides the opportunity to develop behavioral markers that operators can use to predict the development of gambling-related problems among their subscribers. Participants were 4,056 Internet gamblers who subscribed to the Internet betting service provider bwin.party. Half of this sample included multiple platform gamblers who were identified by bwin.party’s Responsible Gambling (RG) program; the other half were controls randomly selected from those who had the same first deposit date. Using the daily aggregated Internet betting transactions for gamblers’ first 31 calendar days of online betting activities at bwin.party, we employed a 2-step analytic strategy: (a) applying an exploratory chi-squared automatic interaction detection (CHAID) decision tree method to identify characteristics that distinguished a subgroup of high-risk Internet gamblers from the rest of the sample, and (b) conducting a confirmatory analysis of those characteristics among an independent validation sample. This analysis identified two high-risk groups (i.e., groups in which 90% of the members were identified by bwin.party’s RG program): Group 1 engaged in three or more gambling activities and evidenced high wager variability on casino-type games; Group 2 engaged in two different gambling activities and evidenced high variability for live action wagers. This analysis advances an ongoing research program to identify potentially problematic Internet gamblers during the earliest stages of their Internet gambling. Gambling providers and public policymakers can use these results to inform early intervention programs that target high-risk Internet gamblers. Click here to visit the Library & Archives page.
LaPlante, D. A., Nelson, S. E., & Gray, H. M. (2013). Breadth and depth involvement: Understanding Internet gambling involvement and its relationship to gambling problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Online First. doi: 10.1037/a0033810 (Password Protected)
Nelson, S. E., Gray, H. M., Maurice, I. R., & Shaffer, H. J. (2012). Moving ahead: Evaluation of a work-skills training program for homeless adults. Community Mental Health Journal, 48(6), 711-722. doi:10.1007/s10597-012-9490-5 (Password Protected)
Schuman-Olivier, Z., Hoeppner, B. B., Weiss, R. D., Borodovsky, J., Shaffer, H. J., & Albanese, M. J. (In Press). Benzodiazepine use during buprenorphine treatment for opioid dependence: Clinical and safety outcomes. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.04.006 (Password Protected)
Shaffer, Howard J, & LaPlante, Debi A. (2013). Considering a critique of pathological gambling prevalence research. Addiction Research and Theory, 21(1), 12-14. doi: 10.3109/16066359.2012.715223 (Password Protected)
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