Validity of the Problem Gambling Severity Index Interpretive Categories
The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) is a widely used nine item scale for measuring the severity of gambling problems in the general population. Of the four gambler types defined by the PGSI, non-problem, low-risk, moderate-risk and problem gamblers, only the latter category underwent any validity testing during the scale’s development, despite the fact that over 95% of gamblers fall into one of the remaining three categories. Using Canadian population data on over 25,000 gamblers, we conducted a comprehensive validity and reliability analysis of the four PGSI gambler types. The temporal stability of PGSI subtype over a 14-month interval was modest but adequate (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.63). There was strong evidence for the validity of the non-problem and problem gambler categories however the low-risk and moderate-risk categories showed poor discriminant validity using the existing scoring rules. The validity of these categories was improved with a simple modification to the scoring system.
KeywordsProblem Gambling Severity Index Validity Reliability Low-risk gambling Moderate-risk gambling
This research was funded by research grants from the Alberta Gaming Research Institute and the Canadian Consortium for Gambling Research (consisting of Alberta Gaming Research Institute, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Canadian Partnership for responsible Gambling, Manitoba Gaming Control Commission, Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation, Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, Saskatchewan Health). The authors thank the other investigators on the Leisure, Lifestyle, and Lifecycle Project (Drs. Nady el-Guebaly, Gary Smith, Robert Williams, and Donald Schopflocher) for permission to use the LLLP data in this study. The authors also thank Lynda Edwards who helped in manuscript preparation.
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