Assessing Problem Gambling: a Review of Classic and Specialized Measures (full text)

By Kyle Caler, Jose Ricardo Vargas Garcia, Lia Nower

Purpose of Review – The rapid expansion of legalized gambling opportunities over the past 20 years has generated interest in problem gambling and gambling disorder. This review will provide an overview of classic and newer instruments in the field.Recent FindingsEarly instruments in the field of gambling studies were focused exclusively on population prevalence or diagnosis of disorder. However, a growing body of research, particularly in the clinical and neurobiological areas, have led to the development of a targeted measurement instruments and increased specialization designed for screening of a gambling disorder. Newer instruments and those that with renewed clinical and research interest are focused on specific areas such as cognitive distortions, and control of urges and cravings, which are key components of sustained recovery.SummaryMeasurement in the field of problem gambling is moving away from solely measuring population prevalence and psychiatric disorder toward targeting the specific mechanisms that underlie problem gambling and barriers to recovery. Future advances in measurement will necessitate using standardized measures to assess various facets of problem gambling and adopting a holistic approach to assessing facets synergistically to identify sub-groups and inform targeted treatment strategies.

Caler, K., Garcia, J. R. V., & Nower, L. (2016). Assessing Problem Gambling: a Review of Classic and Specialized Measures. Current Addiction Reports, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-016-0118-7
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Latest Developments in Treatment for Disordered Gambling: Review and Critical Evaluation of Outcome Studies – Open Access

Yakovenko, I., & Hodgins, D. C.

Purpose of review: Over the last decade, treatments for disordered gambling have developed rapidly. The goal of this paper is to review and to critically evaluate the literature published on the treatment of disordered gambling in the past 3 years. Important findings are emphasized and accompanied by the authors’ personal observations on controversial results or hypotheses of interest. Recent findings: Cognitive-behavioral interventions have been evaluated in treatment of Hong Kong Chinese individuals as well as in combination with mindfulness-based approaches. Personalized-feedback interventions have received increased attention, with brief treatments demonstrating overall efficacy. Pharmacological treatments continue to receive only limited support. On the other hand, web-based treatments appear to show promise. Summary: Cognitive-behavioral and brief treatments remain the most empirically supported approaches, but new inventive combinations of treatments such as web-based therapies are emerging. Future research could benefit from diversification of types of treatments evaluated as well as an examination of what is considered “evidence-based.”

Yakovenko, I., & Hodgins, D. C. (2016). Latest Developments in Treatment for Disordered Gambling: Review and Critical Evaluation of Outcome Studies. Current Addiction Reports, 1–8. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-016-0110-2

Gambling Disorder in the DSM-5: Opportunities to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment Especially in Substance Use and Homeless Populations – Open Access

Rash, C. J., & Petry, N. M.

Purpose of review: This paper reviews recent research related to the revisions of the gambling disorder (GD) criteria, including the elimination of the illegal acts criterion and the lowered diagnostic threshold. Recent findings: Studies suggest that the removal of the illegal acts criterion has little impact in terms of prevalence or loss of diagnostic status among gamblers, especially when considered in combination with the lowered diagnostic threshold. Overall, prevalence rates will increase modestly with the lowered threshold in community samples of gamblers. However, increases in GD prevalence rates may be more notable in settings that serve individuals at higher risk for gambling problems (e.g., substance abuse treatment clinics and homeless persons). Summary: Changes to the GD diagnostic criteria may lead to increased recognition of gambling problems, particularly in settings that serve high-risk populations. These changes also may necessitate the training of more clinicians in the delivery of efficacious gambling treatments.

Rash, C. J., & Petry, N. M. (2016). Gambling Disorder in the DSM-5: Opportunities to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment Especially in Substance Use and Homeless Populations. Current Addiction Reports, 1–5. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-016-0112-0

Gambling Disorder and Minority Populations: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Okuda, M., Liu, W., Cisewski, J. A., Segura, L., Storr, C. L., & Martins, S. S.

Previous studies demonstrate disparities in health and health services including gambling disorders (GD) among ethnic and racial minority groups. In this review, we summarize studies examining the prevalence of GD across different ethnic and racial minorities. We describe the sociodemographic subgroup variations at heightened risk for GD and factors associated with GD in racial and ethnic minority groups including gambling availability, comorbid substance use, psychiatric conditions, stress, acculturation, and differences in cultural values and cognitions. We found that research of GD among minority groups is scant, and the prevalence of GD among these groups is at a magnitude of concern. Racial and ethnic minority status in it of itself is not a risk factor for GD but may be a proxy for underlying potential risk factors. The need for prevention and treatment programs for different cultural group remains unmet.

Okuda, M., Liu, W., Cisewski, J. A., Segura, L., Storr, C. L., & Martins, S. S. (2016). Gambling Disorder and Minority Populations: Prevalence and Risk Factors. Current Addiction Reports, 1–13. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-016-0108-9

Populations at Risk for a Gambling Disorder: Older Adults – full text

Thompson, K. M., & McNeilly, D. P. (2016). Populations at Risk for a Gambling Disorder: Older Adults. Current Addiction Reports, 1–5.
Purpose of review: Older adults who gamble are a population of concern, yet older adult problem gambling remains a topic of limited examination. This article seeks to critically evaluate the existing older adult problem gambling literature. Recent findings Recent literature uses generational comparisons to predict gambling behaviors of those newest to older adulthood, the Baby Boomers. These studies indicate that Baby Boomers participate in gambling activities at a higher rate than previous generations and that they may be further negatively impacted as access to gambling expands. Prevalence rates of problem gambling vary across countries suggesting that culture influences perceptions of gambling for older adults. While poorer health outcomes have also been associated with problem gambling, positive effects of gambling on cognition have also been suggested. Summary Finally, the authors offer personal observations and hypothetical discussion about these research implications and emphasize the need for better awareness, screening, and study of gambling disorders among older adults.

Youth Gambling Behavior: Novel Approaches to Prevention and Intervention – Open Access

While gambling has been traditionally viewed as an adult activity there has been a growing body of research suggesting its popularity amongst adolescents. Despite findings that suggest that most youth gamble in a relatively responsible manner and have few negative gambling-related behaviors there is strong evidence that they constitute a vulnerable group for gambling disorders. The current paper addresses our current knowledge concerning the prevention of youth gambling problems and provides new potential strategies for helping young individuals experiencing a gambling disorder. While the research lacks strong evidence for best practices, a number of novel approaches to the prevention and treatment of gambling disorders for youth are discussed.

Associations Between Gambling Games and Gambling Problems: Whole Games Compared with Temporal, Skill Characteristics, and Other Structural Characteristics

Goodie, A. S. (2015). Associations Between Gambling Games and Gambling Problems: Whole Games Compared with Temporal, Skill Characteristics, and Other Structural Characteristics. Current Addiction Reports, 1–5. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-015-0068-5

Full text available

Research and commentary have been addressed to distinctions regarding problem gambling on the basis of differences in the types of gambling in which individuals engage, such as symptom severity, co-occurring conditions, psychological correlates, and demographic differences. Some progress has been made at the level of the whole game. For example, electronic gaming machine users are more often female and more prone to depressive disorders as well as gambling disorder. Players of other games, such as poker and sports betting, are typically male and prone to substance use disorders. A promising recent trend, however, is to create taxonomies to analyze relevant structural game characteristics that predict gambling problems in a theoretically grounded way…