Which is the most frequently used gambling disorders screens?

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Table of Contents

Brief screening

One of the earliest and best known brief screens for gambling-related problems is the Lie/Bet Scale. This is a two-item screen that asks people to answer (1) Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled? and (2) Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money? The Lie/Bet Scale has been the subject of a number of psychometric evaluations. Recently, researchers have developed a number of brief screens (i.e., those about 5 items or fewer). You can read summaries about some of these screens on The BASIS.

Learn More from The BASIS:

  • BBGS vs. NODS-CLIP: Which Brief Screen for Pathological Gambling Wins the Battle of Psychometrics?
  • Continuing validation of the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen
  • Screening for Pathological Gambling: A 2-Question Test

Additional Resources


The gambling field is awash with assessment tools. Different assessment tools target different aspects of gambling-related problems. The available assessments have been the subject of a number of psychometric evaluations. Depending upon an individual’s clinical needs and a clinician’s need for specific information, different assessment tools are appropriate.

Some popular assessment tools include:

  • Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI)
    An evaluation of the scale and its accompanying profiler software in a clinical setting.
    Journal of Gambling Studies, 27(3), 467-485.
  • The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS)
    A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers.
    American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(9), 1184-1188.
  • The South Oaks Gambling Screen-revised Adolescent (SOGS-RA)
    A cut-point analysis.
    Journal of Gambling Studies, 23(3), 299-308.
  • Massachusetts Gambling Screen (MAGS)
    Pathological gambling among adolescents.
    Journal of Gambling Studies, 10(4), 339-362.


DSM 5 Gambling Disorder: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders provides a series of symptoms commonly found among people with gambling disorders. These symptoms include:

  1. Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the following in a 12-month period:
    1. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
    2. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
    3. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
    4. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
    5. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
    6. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
    7. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
    8. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
    9. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
  2. The gambling behavior is not better explained by a manic episode.

People meet the DSM standard for Gambling Disorder when they satisfy 4 of these criteria.

Of Note: The American Psychiatric Association recently made a major change to its treatment of gambling-related problems within its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In prior editions, gambling-related problems were included in the manual’s Impulse Control Disorders section under the diagnosis, Pathological Gambling. Today, gambling-related problems are located with other addictive behavior, like Substance Use Disorders, and use the diagnosis, Gambling Disorder. The co-location of gambling with other addictive behavior reflects the shared preceding conditions, developmental processes, and consequences of these problems. Notably, many of the Evidence-based Practices for Treating Gambling Disorder also are evidence-based practices for other expressions of addiction

Background and objectives: The goal of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of brief screens for Gambling Disorder within a sample of people receiving outpatient treatment for substance use disorders.

Methods: Individuals (n = 300) recruited from intensive outpatient substance use treatment (23.67%) or methadone maintenance programs (76.34%) participated in the study. Four brief screens for Gambling Disorder were administered and compared to DSM-5 criteria. Receiver operator curves were created and an Area Under the Curve (AUC) analysis (an overall summary of the utility of the scale to correctly identify Gambling Disorder) was assessed for each.

Results: On average participants were aged 46.4 years (SD = 10.2), African American/Black (70.7%), with an income less than $20,000/year (89.5%). Half the participants were female. Approximately 40% of participants (40.5%; n = 121) met DSM-5 criteria for Gambling Disorder. Accuracy of the brief screens as measured by hit rate were .88 for the BBGS, .77 for the Lie/Bet, .75 for NODS-PERC, and .73 for the NODS-CLiP. AUC analysis revealed that the NODS-PERC (AUC: .93 (95% CI: .91-.96)) and NODS-CLiP (AUC: .90 (95% CI: .86-.93)) had excellent accuracy.

Discussion and conclusions: The NODS-PERC and NODS-CLiP had excellent accuracy at all cut-off points. However, the BBGS appeared to have the best accuracy at its specified cut-off point.

Scientific significance: Commonly used brief screens for Gambling Disorder appear to be associated with good diagnostic accuracy when used in substance use treatment settings. The choice of which brief screen to use may best be decided by the needs of the clinical setting.

Which is the most commonly endorsed ie most common of the DSM symptoms for gambling disorder?

The most commonly endorsed diagnostic symptoms by sub-diagnostic gamblers are withdrawal, chasing losses, lying to others, and escape gambling with lower endorsement rates for the more severe symptoms [e.g., jeopardizing relationships, illegal behavior, loss of control, financial bailouts; 45].

What section of the DSM 5 is gambling disorder?

Gambling Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment DSM-5 312.31 (F63. 0) Gambling continuously and repeatedly to the point where it causes problems in a person's life and anxiousness is deemed a Gambling Disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)*.

What disease is associated with a high rate of compulsive gambling?

People who gamble compulsively often have substance misuse problems, personality disorders, depression or anxiety. Compulsive gambling may also be associated with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What type of disorder is pathological gambling?

Pathological gambling, also known as compulsive gambling or disordered gambling, is a recognized mental disorder characterized by a pattern of continued gambling despite negative physical, psychological, and social consequences.

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