Prevalence estimates of adolescent gambling: A comparison of the SOGS-RA, DSM-IV-J, and the GA 20 questions

Abstract

Concerns over the rising prevalence of adolescent gambling problems have become more commonplace. A recent meta analysis of studies examining adolescent prevalence rates by Shaffer and Hall (1996) has suggested that between 77-83% of adolescents are engaging in some form of gambling behavior with between 9.9% and 14.2% of youth remaining at risk for a serious gambling problem. Their results further suggest that between 4.4% and 7.4% of adolescents exhibit serious adverse gambling related problems and/or pathological gambling behavior. Comparisons of studies are often difficult due to the use of alternative measures, differing classification schemes, and nomenclature. The present study examined the gambling behaviors of 980 adolescents who were administered three screening measures used with adolescents; the SOGS-RA, DSM-IV-J, and the GA 20 Questions. The DSM-IV-J was found to be the most conservative measure identifying 3.4% of the population as problem/pathological gamblers while the SOGS-GA identified 5.3% and the GA 20 Questions identified 6% of youth as experiencing serious gambling problems. The degree of concordance amongst the measures, gender differences, and classification systems are discussed.

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