Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 101–120 | Cite as

The Four Es of Problem Gambling: A Psychological Measure of Risk

  • Matthew J. Rockloff
  • Victoria Dyer


A focus group of Reno area Gamblers Anonymous members identified four psychological traits contributing to risk for problem gambling, including: Escape, Esteem, Excess and Excitement. A panel of four experts authored 240 Likert-type items to measure these traits. By design, none of the items explicitly referred to gambling activities. Study 1 narrowed the field of useful items by employing a quasi-experimental design which compared the answers of Reno area Gamblers Anonymous members (N = 39) to a control sample (N = 34). Study 2 submitted successful items, plus new items authored with the knowledge gained from Study 1, to validation in a random sample telephone survey across Queensland, Australia (N=2577). The final 40 item Four Es scale (4Es) was reliable (α=.90); predicted gambling problems as measured by the Canadian Problem Gambling Index of Severity (PGSI, Ferris & Wynne (2001). The Canadian Problem Gambling Index: Final Report: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse); and distinguished problem gamblers from persons with alcohol abuse problems. The new scale can provide a basis for further study in harm minimization, treatment, and theory development.


personality aboriginal native 4Es 



This research was supported by a grant from the Queensland Treasury Department, Australia. We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of Catherine Byrne, Judy Calder, Benjamin Hayes, Virginia Hayes and Kathi Heffner in the conduct of Study 1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and SociologyCentral Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and SociologyCentral Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia

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