Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 499–512 | Cite as

Validation of the Short Gambling Harm Screen (SGHS): A Tool for Assessment of Harms from Gambling

  • Matthew BrowneEmail author
  • Belinda C. Goodwin
  • Matthew J. Rockloff
Original Paper


It is common for jurisdictions tasked with minimising gambling-related harm to conduct problem gambling prevalence studies for the purpose of monitoring the impact of gambling on the community. However, given that both public health theory and empirical findings suggest that harms can occur without individuals satisfying clinical criteria of addiction, there is a recognized conceptual disconnect between the prevalence of clinical problem gamblers, and aggregate harm to the community. Starting with an initial item pool of 72 specific harms caused by problematic gambling, our aim was to develop a short gambling harms scale (SGHS) to screen for the presence and degree of harm caused by gambling. An Internet panel of 1524 individuals who had gambled in the last year completed a 72-item checklist, along with the Personal Wellbeing Index, the PGSI, and other measures. We selected 10 items for the SGHS, with the goals of maximising sensitivity and construct coverage. Psychometric analysis suggests very strong reliability, homogeneity and unidimensionality. Non-zero responses on the SGHS were associated with a large decrease in personal wellbeing, with wellbeing decreasing linearly with the number of harms indicated. We conclude that weighted SGHS scores can be aggregated at the population level to yield a sensitive and valid measure of gambling harm.


Gambling-related harm Population screen Validation Public health 



Author Matthew Browne has received grants from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Gambling Research Australia. Author Matthew J. Rockloff has received research grants from the Queensland Treasury, the Victorian Treasury, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Gambling Research Australia. Author Belinda C. Goodwin has received a grant from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.


This study was funded under a contract to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were approved by the institutional ethics committee and were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

10899_2017_9698_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)
10899_2017_9698_MOESM2_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human Health and Social SciencesCentral Queensland UniversityBundabergAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Resilient RegionsUniversity of Southern QueenslandSpringfield CentralAustralia

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