The diagnostic accuracy of brief screening instruments for problem gambling: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Psychol Rev. 2019 Dec:74:101784. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101784. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


Non-gambling specialist services, such as primary care, alcohol and other drug use, and mental health services, are well placed to enhance the identification of people with gambling problems and offer appropriate generalist first level interventions or referral. Given time and resource demands, many of these clinical services may only have the capacity to administer very short screening instruments. This systematic review was conducted to provide a resource for health service providers and researchers in identifying the most accurate brief (1-5 item) screening instruments to identify problem and at-risk gambling for their specific purposes and populations. A systematic search of peer-reviewed and grey literature from 1990 to 2019 identified 25 articles for inclusion. Meta-analysis revealed five of the 20 available instruments met criteria for satisfactory diagnostic accuracy in detecting both problem and at-risk gambling: Brief Problem Gambling Screen (BPGS-2), NODS-CLiP, Problem Gambling Severity Index-Short Form (PGSI-SF), NODS-PERC, and NODS-CLiP2. Of these, the NODS-CLiP and NODS-PERC have the largest volume of diagnostic data. The Lie/Bet Questionnaire and One-Item Screen are also promising shorter options. Because these conclusions are drawn from a relatively limited evidence base, future studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of existing brief instruments across settings, age groups, and timeframes are needed.

Keywords: Classification accuracy; Diagnostic accuracy; Gambling; Screening; Sensitivity; Specificity; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Gambling / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*