Development Of Screening Instruments

Pathological gambling is a progressive disorder with very serious life consequences at the later stages. Early identification is especially important because of the devastating individual, family and social impacts of high rates of bankruptcy, suicide, and crime and other individual and societal problems related to pathological gambling (Blaszczynski, et al., 1989; Lesieur, 1998; Phillips, et al., 1997).

The first valid and reliable screening instrument for pathological gambling was the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) developed in 1987 and still the primary instrument in the field for clinical screening and prevalence research (Lesieur & Blume, 1987). As the SOGS has twenty items, there is a need for a briefer screening instrument which is rapidly scorable. Screening instruments which have been developed to assess problem and pathological gambling in youth are the MAGS (Shaffer, et al., 1994), DSM IV-J (Fisher, 1992) and SOGS-RA (Winters, et al., 1993). Self-report instruments are useful for self-screening and initial professional screening but are not to be used for diagnostic purposes.

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