Analyses of disordered gambling assessment data have indicated that commonly used screens appear to measure latent categories. This stands in contrast to the oft-held assumption that problem gambling is at the extreme of a continuum. To explore this further, we report a series of latent class analyses of a number of prevalent problem gambling assessments (PGSI, SOGS, DSM-IV Pathological Gambling based assessments) in nationally representative British surveys between 1999 and 2012, analysing data from nearly fifty thousand individuals. The analyses converged on a three class model in which the classes differed by problem gambling severity. This identified an initial class of gamblers showing minimal problems, a additional class predominantly endorsing indicators of preoccupation and loss chasing, and a third endorsing a range of disordered gambling criteria. However, there was considerable evidence to suggest that classes of intermediate and high severity disordered gamblers differed systematically in their responses to items related to loss of control, and not simply on the most ‘difficult’ items. It appeared that these differences were similar between assessments. An important exception to this was one set of DSM-IV criteria based analyses using a specific cutoff, which was also used in an analysis that identified an increase in UK problem gambling prevalence between 2007 and 2010. The results suggest that disordered gambling has a mixed latent structure, and that present assessments of problem gambling appear to converge on a broadly similar construct.
James, R. J., O'Malley, C., & Tunney, R. J. (2016). Loss of control as a discriminating factor between different latent classes of disordered gambling severity. Journal of Gambling Studies, 32(4), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-016-9592-z