Examining DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling: Psychometric properties and evidence from cognitive biases

Abstract

We examined the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling as assessed with the DSM-IV-based Diagnostic Interview for Gambling Severity (DIGS; Winters, Specker, & Stinchfield, 2002). We first analyzed the psychometric properties of the DIGS, and then assessed the extent to which performance on two judgment and decision-making tasks, the Georgia Gambling Task (Goodie, 2003) and the Iowa Gambling Task (Bechara, Damasio, Damasio, & Anderson, 1994), related to higher reports of gambling pathology. In a sample of frequent gamblers, we found strong psychometric support for the DSM-IV conception of pathological gambling as measured by the DIGS, predictive relationships between DIGS scores and all cognitive performance measures, and significant differences in performance measures between individuals with and without pathological gambling. Analyses using suggested revisions to the pathological gambling threshold (Stinchfield, 2003) revealed that individuals meeting four of the DSM-IV criteria aligned significantly more with pathological gamblers than with non-pathological gamblers, supporting the suggested change in the cutoff score from five to four symptoms. Discussion focuses on the validity of the DSM-IV criteria as assessed by the DIGS and the role of cognitive biases in pathological gambling.

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