Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 701–707 | Cite as

Validation of a One Item Screen for Problem Gambling

  • Matthew J. Rockloff
  • John Ehrich
  • Markus Themessl-Huber
  • Lionel G. Evans
Original Paper


A valid 1 item screen (“In the past 12 months, have you ever had an issue with your gambling?”) is potentially important in both a primary care setting and in research applications where an extended screen is not practical or affordable. Prior research by Thomas et al. (A one item screening tool for problem gambling for use in primary care settings, Unpublished Manuscript, Monash University, 2010) and Thomas et al. (MJA 189(3):135–136, 2008) found that the 1 item screen provided acceptable performance when compared to the 9-item Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI, Ferris and Wynne in The Canadian problem gambling Index: Final report, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2001). The current study sought to replicate these findings in a different geographic area. Data were collected from a telephone survey of 1,292 respondents in Queensland. Results from the phone survey showed a very high proportion of false negatives (79%), indicating that approximately 4/5 of positively identified problem gamblers from the PGSI refused to admit to having any “issues with (their) gambling” in the last 12 months. Further investigation using Rasch analysis (Andrich in Medical Care, 42(1):7–16, 2004) revealed that while the internal construct validity of the PGSI was good, the 1 item screen was ineffective as an indicator of those who are presently at risk for problem gambling. One possible explanation for the discrepancy with past results is that the present study employed the qualifier of “In the past 12 months” to match with the questions on the PGSI, whereas the prior research excluded this timeframe limit. Nevertheless, the current study casts doubt on the ability or willingness of people with severe gambling problems to self-diagnose their behavior as problematic.


Gambling Pathological gambling SOGS DSM-IV CPGI PGSI 



This research was funded by a grant from the Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Queensland, Australia.

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest are declared.


  1. Anderson, L. W. (1994). Attitude measures. In T. Husen (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of education (Vol. 1, pp. 380–390). Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  2. Andrich, D. (1988). Rasch models for measurement. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Andrich, D. (2004). Controversy and the Rasch model: A characteristic of incompatible paradigms? Medical Care, 42(1), 7–16.Google Scholar
  4. Andrich, D., Sheridan, B. S., & Luo, G. (2005). RUMM2020: Rasch unidimensional models for measurement. Perth: RUMM Laboratory.Google Scholar
  5. Barley, E., & Jones, P. (2006). Repeatability of a Rasch model of the AQ20 over five assessments. Quality of Life Research, 15(5), 801–809.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Evans, L., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2005). Motivators for change and barriers to help-seeking in Australian problem gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21(2), 133–155.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferris, J., & Wynne, H. (2001). The Canadian problem gambling Index: Final report. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.Google Scholar
  8. Jackson, A. C., Wynne, H., Dowling, N. A., Tomnay, J. E., & Thomas, S. (2009). Using the CPGI to determine problem gambling prevalence in Australia: Measurement issues. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. doi:  10.1007/s11469-009-9238-9.
  9. Roskam, E. E., & Jansen, P. G. W. (1989). Conditions for Rasch-dichotomizability of the unidimensional polytomous Rasch model. Psychometrika, 54(2), 317–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Thomas, S. A., Jackson, A. C., Browning, C. J., & Piterman, L. (2010). A one item screening tool for problem gambling for use in primary care settings. Monash University: Unpublished Manuscript.Google Scholar
  11. Thomas, S. A., Piterman, L., & Jackson, A. C. (2008). Problem gambling: What do general practitioners need to know and do about it? MJA, 189(3), 135–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Rockloff
    • 1
  • John Ehrich
    • 1
  • Markus Themessl-Huber
    • 1
  • Lionel G. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Central Queensland UniversityBundabergAustralia

Personalised recommendations