Exploring the measurement structure of the gambling related cognitions scale (GRCS) in the treatment-seekers: A Bayesian structural equation modelling approach

Abstract

Knowledge of a problem gambler's underlying gambling related cognitions plays an important role in treatment planning. The Gambling Related Cognitions Scale (GRCS) is therefore frequently used in clinical settings for screening and evaluation of treatment outcomes. However, GRCS validation studies have generated conflicting results regarding its latent structure using traditional confirmatory factor analyses (CFA). This may partly be due to the rigid constraints imposed on cross-factor loadings with traditional CFA. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether a Bayesian structural equation modelling (BSEM) approach to examination of the GRCS factor structure would better replicate substantive theory and also inform model re-specifications. Participants were 454 treatment-seekers at first presentation to a gambling treatment centre between January 2012 and December 2014. Model fit indices were well below acceptable standards for CFA. In contrast, the BSEM model which included small informative priors for the residual covariance matrix in addition to cross-loadings produced excellent model fit for the original hypothesised factor structure. The results also informed re-specification of the CFA model which provided more reasonable model fit. These conclusions have implications that should be useful to both clinicians and researchers evaluating measurement models relating to gambling related cognitions in treatment-seekers.

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