Analyses related to the development of DSM-5 criteria for substance use related disorders: 3. An assessment of Pathological Gambling criteria


Background: The DSM-5 Substance-Related Disorders Work Group proposed to include Pathological Gambling within the current Substance-Related Disorders section. The objective of the current report was to assess four possible sets of diagnostic criteria for Pathological Gambling. Methods: Gamblers (N = 161) were defined as either Pathological or Non-Pathological according to four classification methods. (a) Option 1: the current DSM-IV criteria for Pathological Gambling; (b) Option 2: dropping the "Illegal Acts" criterion, while keeping the threshold at 5 required criteria endorsed; (c) Option 3: the proposed DSM-5 approach, i.e., deleting "Illegal Acts" and lowering the threshold of required criteria from 5 to 4; (d) Option 4: to use a set of Pathological Gambling criteria modeled on the DSM-IV Substance Dependence criteria. Cronbach's alpha and eigenvalues were calculated for reliability, Phi, discriminant function analyses, correlations and multivariate regression models were performed for validity and kappa coefficients were calculated for diagnostic consistency of each option. Results: All criteria sets were reliable and valid. Some criteria had higher discriminant properties than others. Conclusion: The proposed DSM-5 criteria in Options 2 and 3 performed well and did not appear to alter the meanings of the diagnoses of Pathological Gambling from DSM-IV. Future work should further explore if Pathological Gambling might be assessed using the same criteria as those used for Substance Use Disorders.

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