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Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes

A report providing an overview of consumer gambling behaviour in Great Britain in 2019

Full PGSI and DSM-IV screens

This appendix provides further explanation of the methodologies used for each section of this report, including sample sizes and margins of error

The PGSI was developed by Ferris and Wynne and was specifically developed for use among the general population rather than within a clinical context. It was developed, tested and validated within a general population survey of over 3,000 Canadian residents. The instrument was revised in 2003.

The PGSI consists of nine items ranging from ‘chasing losses’ to ‘gambling causing health problems’ to ‘feeling guilty about gambling’. Each item is assessed on a four-point scale: never, sometimes, most of the time, almost always. Responses to each item are given the following scores: never = zero; sometimes = one; most of the time = two; almost always = three. When scores to each item are summed, a total score ranging from zero to 27 is possible. A PGSI score of eight or more represents a problem gambler. This is the threshold recommended by the developers of the PGSI and the threshold used in this report. The PGSI was also developed to give further information on sub-threshold problem gamblers. PGSI scores between three and seven are indicative of ‘moderate-risk’ gambling and a score of one or two is indicative of ‘low-risk’ gambling.

The DSM-IV screening instrument is based on criteria from the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV). This contains ten diagnostic criteria ranging from ‘chasing losses’ to ‘committing a crime to fund gambling’.

The DSM-IV criteria constitute a tool created for diagnosis by clinicians of pathological gambling and were not intended for use as a screening instrument among the general population. Therefore, there is no recommended questionnaire version of the DSM-IV. An adapted version of the DSM-IV to use in a survey setting was developed for the British Gambling Prevalence Survey (BGPS) and was subject to a rigorous development and testing process, including cognitive testing and piloting.

Each DSM-IV item is assessed on a four-point scale, ranging from ‘never’ to ‘very often’. Responses to each item are dichotomised to show whether a person meets the criteria or not and a total score between zero and ten is produced.

Among clinicians, a diagnosis of pathological gambling is made if a person meets five out of the ten criteria. Many surveys, when adapting the DSM-IV criteria into a screening instrument for use within a general population survey, have included a further category of ‘problem gambler’ for those who meet at least three of the DSM-IV criteria. This approach was adopted for the Health survey series.

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Problem and at-risk gambling
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Online gambling behaviour
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