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Assessment

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The South Oaks Gambling Screen SOGS: A New Instrument for the Identification of Pathological Gamblers. Henry Lesieur and Sheila Blume. Am J Psychiatry 144:9, p1184-1188, Sept. 1987. A detailed description of the SOGS and how it was developed. The SOGS appears to be a valid, reliable screening instrument for the rapid screening of alcoholic, drug dependent and other patients for pathological gambling. Previous studies of substance-abusing inpatients had shown clear connections between various forms of substance abuse and the presence of pathological gambling. Other studies found a connection between prison populations and pathological gambling.

Pathological Gambling. Richard J. Rosenthal. Psychiatric Annals 22:2, p72-78, Feb. 1992. Pathological gambling is very similar in definition and symptoms to substance dependence. This article discusses the evolution of the DSM-IV criteria for diagnosing pathological gamblers. Various studies of pathological gamblers in treatment reveal that approximately 50 percent have histories of alcohol or drug abuse. In males, the disorder typically begins in adolescence. Females typically start gambling later in life, are more apt to be depressed, and gamble as a means of escaping the depression. It is not unusual for male gamblers to have a history of 20 to 30 years when they seek treatment, compared with three years for females.

Toward the Development of an Adolescent Gambling Problem Severity Scale. Ken Winters, Randy Stinchfield and Jayne Fulkerson. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 9(1), p63-84, Spring 1993. This study describes the development and initial psychometric properties of an adolescent gambling problem severity measure adapted from a well-known adult measure, the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) (Lesieur & Blume, 1987). More than 1,100 older teenagers (ages 15 to 18) participated in this state-wide gambling survey. The study presents initial psychometric evidence for the SOGS-RA as a recent measure of gambling problem severity for older male adolescents.

Epidemiological Surveys of Pathological Gambling: Critique and Suggestions for Modification. Henry R. Lesieur. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 10(4), p385-398, Winter 1994. This article discusses the inaccuracies presented in the epidemiological studies of problem and pathological gamblers due to fundamental flaws or biases. Lesieur speculates that these surveys seriously underestimate the extent of problem and pathological gambling, but concludes that there does not now exist a way to reliably estimate the number of pathological gamblers.

Pathological Gambling Among Adolescents: Massachusetts Gambling Screen (MAGS). Howard J. Shaffer, Richard LaBrie, Kathleen M. Scanlan and Thomas N. Cummings. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 10(4), p339-362, Winter 1994. This article describes the Massachusetts Gambling Screen (MAGS), which was developed to gauge non-pathological and pathological gambling during a 5-to 10-minute survey and to document the first psychometric translation of DSM-IV pathological gambling criteria into a set of survey questions. More than 850 Boston suburban high school students were surveyed. The sample was not randomly selected and was predominantly (95-97 percent) white. The survey showed that the prevalence of gambling related social and emotional problems was significantly greater for adolescent males than for females.

Gambling in Ontario: A Report from a General Population Survey on Gambling-Related Problems and Opinions. Jackie Ferris, Tania Stirpe and Anca Ialomiteanu. Addiction Research Foundation, Problem and Compulsive Gambling Project, Revised 1996. 1,030 Ontario adults were surveyed for this study, which found about 1 percent of the Ontario population with "serious gambling problems." Of particular interest in this study is the use of three different measures of gambling problems: the South Oaks Gambling Screen, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), and the "Life Areas Problem Measure." All agreed on the 1 percent problem level.

Prevalence Studies of Problem Gambling in the United States. Rachel A. Volberg. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol.12(2), p111-128, Summer 1996. This article summarizes the results of the prevalence studies that have been completed in the United States since 1980. The surveys indicate that problem and probable pathological gamblers are more likely to be male, under the age of 30, non-Caucasian and unmarried than the general population. They are also less likely to have completed high school and more likely to have started gambling at a significantly younger age. Volberg concludes that the SOGS is outdated and suggests that a variety of methods should be used in future research.

The Prevalence of Problem and Pathological Gambling: A Critical Analysis. Michael B. Walker and Mark G. Dickerson. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 12(2), p 233-249, Summer 1996. This article discusses the author's belief in the inaccuracy of prevalence studies. The authors' criticisms are: 1) prevalence studies should measure the "current" rate rather than "lifetime" experience; and 2) the accuracy of the South Oaks Gambling Screen in determining a pathological gambler. Walker and Dickerson suggess that future research should comprise a detailed assessment of expenditures by product and develop profiles of the increasing level of risk of negative consequences of different levels of expenditure for each type of gambling.

Estimating the Prevalence of Adolescent Gambling Disorders: A Quantitative Synthesis and Guide Toward Standard Gambling Nomenclature. Howard J. Shaffer and Matthew N. Hall. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 12(2), p 193-214, Summer 1996. This article discusses the variations in terminology and classifications used in past surveys of adolescent gambling that make comparisons of prevalence rates difficult. Shaffer and Hall suggest a 5-level generic rating system (ranging from "Level 0: Non Gambling" to" Level 4: Impaired Gambler who Displays Willingness to Enter Treatment") for use in future studies. They contend that as the consistency and clarity of gambling screens improve, researchers will be better able to identify those in need of intervention.

Psychological Characteristics of Volunteers in Studies on Gambling. Robert Ladouceur, Caroline Arsenault, Dominique Dubé, Mark H. Freeston, Christian Jacques. Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol.13(1), p69-84, Spring, 1997. The authors used a newspaper ad to solicit volunteers for a study of gambling and compared the results to a general problem gambling prevalence study in the Province of Quebec. The volunteer group had more than 24 times the rate of "probable pathological gambling" (as measured by the South Oaks Gambling Screen) than was found using a random sample. These results suggest the need for extreme caution when evaluating measures of problem gambling obtained by using a self-selected group or a survey with a low response rate. The probable pathological gamblers reported much higher rates of poor psychosocial functioning than did the rest of the population. Interestingly, the psychosocial functioning of those with SOGS scores of 3 or 4 (often labeled as "potential pathological gamblers") was statistically indistinguishable from that of nongamblers.

The Maroondah Assessment Profile for Problem Gambling (G-MAP?): A New Direction in Problem Gambling Counseling. Tim Loughnan, Mark Pierce & Anastasia Sagris. 10th International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking, Montreal. June 1997. This paper describes the development and use of the Maroondah Assessment Profile for Problem Gambling (G-MAP), for the assessment and treatment of gambling problems. The G-MAP is designed to provide a map of relevant treatment issues to assist in the planning of individualized, cost effective treatment for people with gambling problems. Developed by three psychologists, the G-MAP is currently in a developmental phase and further research on its reliability and validity is underway.

Prevalence Estimates of Adolescent Gambling: A Comparison of the SOGS-RA, DSM-IV-J, and the G. A. 20 Questions. Jeffrey L. Derevensky & Rina Gupta. 10th International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking, Montreal. McGill University, Montreal, June, 1997. The gambling behaviors of 980 adolescents were examined using three measures, the SOGS-RA, DSM-IV-J, and the Gamblers Anonymous 20 (G. A. 20) Questions. The DSM-IV-J was found to be the most conservative measure identifying 3.4 percent of the population as problem/pathological gamblers while the SOGS-RA identified 5.3 percent and the G. A. 20 Questions identified six percent of adolescents as experiencing a serious gambling-related problem. Males continue to engage in gambling activities to a greater degree than females, and all three measures found more males exhibiting gambling related problems than females.

Brief Manual for Use of the Diagnostic Interview for Gambling Severity (DIGS). Ken Winter, Sheila Specker, Randy Stinchfield. Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. July, 1997. A detailed explanation of the Diagnostic Interview for Gambling Severity (DIGS), a tool used to make a DSM-IV diagnosis of pathological gambling (current and historical), as well as to assess other functioning including demographics, treatment history, mental health status and other impulse-related problems. This manual includes the DIGS's background, administration techniques and recommendations, a discussion of its psychometric results including reliability/validity and the worksheet used for scoring results attained from the DSM-IV: Compulsive Gambling Interview. The preliminary evaluation of the DIGS shows it to be an appropriate measure of pathological gambling.

The Lie/Bet Questionnaire for Screening Pathological Gamblers. Edward E. Johnson, Robert Hamer, Rena M. Nora, Benito Tan, Norman Eisenstein and Charles Engelhart. Psychological Reports 80, p83-88, 1997. The authors devised a two-question screener for pathological gambling by identifying the DSM-IV criteria which best distinguished problem from non-problem gamblers. The two questions ("Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?" and "Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?") were found to correctly classify pathological gamblers 99 percent of the time and non-pathological gamblers 91 percent of the time. While this tool may have value for quick clinical screens, in the general population the number of false positive results will overwhelm the number of true positive results.

The Canadian Problem Gambling Index: Final Report. Jackie Ferris and Harold Wynne. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. February 19, 2001. This report provides an overview of the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI), a new instrument for the measurement of problem gambling in general population surveys. Compared to instruments such as the SOGS and DSM-IV, the CPGI includes more indicators of the social and environmental context of problem gambling. Prevalence rates for pathological gambling as measured by the CPGI and DSM-IV were found to be similar, while a higher rate was obtained using SOGS. However, the CPGI obtained higher rates for those considered to be at risk of a gambling program than the other two instruments. The CPGI consists of 31 items, nine of which are scored to provide prevalence information.