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Pathways Model

This model, developed by Alex Blaszczynski of the University of Sydney, is a forerunner of the recent attempts to understand problem gambling as having different entry points and treatment approaches. Historically, many addictions models have approached people experiencing problems in a “cookie-cutter” fashion, with one paradigm to explain the addiction and one overwhelmingly popular approach to treatment. The Pathways Model, as a way of conceptualizing problem gambling and planning treatment, has been used at CAMH from a very early point in the service's history. The model respects client difference and harm reduction approaches. It continues to inform clinicians’ practice today and is a good jumping-off place for more in-depth study of problem gambling typology and treatment matching.

Recommended reading

Blaszczynski, A. (2000). Pathways to pathological gambling: Identifying typologies. The Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues, 1.

Blaszczynski, A. (2005). Subtypes of problem gamblers. Presentation at 19th annual conference on prevention, research and treatment of problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Issues, 15.

Blaszczynski, A. (2005). Conceptual and methodological issues in treatment outcome research. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21 (1), 5–11.

• As part of a general review of research needed to define effective treatment for problem gambling, Blaszczynski notes that the pathways conceptual model is an attempt to identify different types of problem gambling in order to match treatment and measure outcomes.

Blaszczynski, A. & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97, 487–499.

Turner, N.E. (2006). Pathways into pathological gambling. Presentation at Discovery 2006 conference.

Turner, N.E., Jain, U., Spence, W. & Zangeneh, M. (2008). Pathways to pathological gambling: Component analysis of variables related to pathological gambling. International Gambling Studies, 8 (3), 281–298.

• A study that tests the pathways model with 141 gamblers and supported the model, with modification to the “normal” path into two separate pathways: erroneous beliefs and experiences of wins components.

Turner, N.E., Zangeneh, M., Littman-Sharp, N. (2006). The experience of gambling and its role in problem gambling. International Gambling Studies, 6 (2), 237–266.

• Tested the pathways model with 105 participants, including social, sub-clinical and pathological gamblers, in order to evaluate whether risk factors could differentiate between problem and social gamblers. Confirmed the pathways model but noted that pathways were not entirely distinct and problem gamblers exhibited more than one risk factor.

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