Pathological and Sub-clinical Problem Gambling in a New Zealand Prison: A Comparison of the Eight and SOGS Gambling Screens

  • Sean Sullivan
  • Robert Brown
  • Bruce Skinner


Prison populations have been identified as having elevated levels of problem gambling prevalence, and screening for problem gambling may provide an opportunity to identify and address a behaviour that may otherwise lead to re-offending. A problem gambling screen for this purpose would need to be brief, simple to score, and be able to be administered, with limited training, by prison assessors. The Eight Screen was developed as a brief tool for Family Doctors to use in a patient population, but has also been used effectively in more generalised populations. In this study 100 inmates received into a medium security prison were screened using the Eight screen and the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), with those scoring three or more on either screen then being assessed by a specialist clinician using DSM-IV Pathological Gambling Disorder criteria. Twenty-nine inmates were screen positives who also correlated highly with assessed gambling pathology. The Eight Screen appears to be a suitable gambling screen for prison use and has since been adopted as an assessment instrument by the New Zealand Department of Corrections.


Problem gambling Eight Screen Prison Pathological gambling Screening SOGS 



The authors wish to acknowledge the helpful assistance and contribution of the New Zealand Department of Corrections and the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand

Statement if interest

The lead author developed the Eight Screen and has been a Board member of the Problem Gambling Foundation. The second author is currently a member of the Board of the Problem Gambling Foundation, while the third author is a manager and clinical psychologist with the New Zealand Department of Corrections.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General Practice & Primary Health CareUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Population HealthUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.New Zealand Department of CorrectionsWellingtonNew Zealand

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