Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 957–968 | Cite as

Which Diagnostic Criteria are Most Useful in Discriminating Between Social Gamblers and Individuals with Gambling Problems? An Examination of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criteria

  • Caroline E. Temcheff
  • Thomas S. Paskus
  • Marc. N. Potenza
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
Original Paper


The current study sought to identify which diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder have the greatest ability to differentiate between social and problem gamblers. This study was conducted on a sample of male and female college student athletes across the U.S. (n = 8674). Classification and regression tree analysis represents an appropriate technique when addressing the question of an item’s diagnostic value, as it sequentially selects variables to isolate sets of observations with similar outcomes. The current results suggest that the item related to preoccupation (“Have there been periods in the past year where you spent a lot of time thinking about gambling?”) was the DSM-5 item best able to differentiate between male and female social and problem gamblers in this sample. When considering only the nine criteria retained in the DSM-5, three criteria were identified as key for distinguishing between social and disordered gamblers among men, and one criterion was identified for distinguishing between groups of women. In addition, these results do not support the notion that the illegal acts criterion has a particularly low base rate and found that it can be an important indicator of disordered gambling in a college-aged sample.


Gambling Pathological gambling Classification Diagnosis Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline E. Temcheff
    • 1
  • Thomas S. Paskus
    • 2
  • Marc. N. Potenza
    • 3
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
    • 4
  1. 1.Département de psychoéducationUniversité de SherbrookeLongueuilCanada
  2. 2.National Collegiate Athletic AssociationIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Yale Department of PsychiatryNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk BehaviorsMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada

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