Gambling and homelessness: developing an information sheet, screening tool and resource sheet

Abstract

The primary aims of this research were to further our understanding of the relationship between gambling and homelessness, and to develop three instruments; an information sheet to assist homeless practitioners in understanding and identifying gambling problems, a screening tool to assist in screening for gambling problems, and a resource sheet to provide information to those who are identified as being at least at risk of gambling problems.
Although a few methodological difficulties were encountered throughout initial recruitment, 19 initial interviews were conducted, which in conjunction with existing gambling literature, contributed to the initial development of the three documents. These documents were the assessed through cognitive interviewing of both homeless practitioners and gambling and non-gambling homeless individuals. Following feedback and recommendations from the cognitive interviews, the documents were subsequently adjusted accordingly.

The final documents are:
• An information sheet
• The Lincoln Homelessness and Gambling Scale (L-HAGS) Screening Tool
• Resource Sheet

The three documents produced, the information sheet, The Lincoln Homelessness and Gambling Scale (L-HAGS), and the resource sheet achieve the primary aims of the research. These instruments require further large-scale validation and evaluation, and offer potential for extension and future development:

• Suggestions are made for assessment and validation to develop the L-HAGS from a tool proficient in identifying potential at risk individuals, to a tool with the capacity to measure disordered gambling prevalence in the homeless community.
• The potential for taking a database and search capacity online is discussed.

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