Screening Tools

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This section is for professionals whose work is to help people. Examples include: addiction specialists, social or health care providers, workers in the criminal justice system, the clergy or employee assistance program counselors.

Many people who come to you may be struggling with serious financial, emotional, health and relationship problems related to problem gambling. It is also likely that they will not tell you about these problems… unless you ask.

Screening tools such as the NODS-CLiP can be used to rule out problem gambling. The NODS-CLiP is a 3-item tool that has been deemed valid and reliable for ruling out disordered gambling behaviors. If an individual answers “yes” to one or more of the questions on the NODS-CLiP questionnaire, further assessment is needed.1

Other assessments for problem gambling counselors and therapists to evaluate the severity of the problem are:

    DSM-5 Diagnostic Gambling Disorder Criteria – The American Psychiatric Association provides guidelines used for gambling disorders. Five or more “yes” answers indicate a possible diagnosis for a Gambling Disorder. Less than 5 but more than 0 indicates a potential problem and/or at risk indicators which may warrant further support, education and treatment services. For more information on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), please visit http://www.dsm5.org/.
    NORC DSM IV Screen for Gambling Problems – The NODS is based on the DSM-IV criteria for Pathological Gambling and assesses both lifetime and past-year problem gambling. This instrument includes 34 items and was designed as an interview tool.
    South Oaks Gambling Screen – The SOGS is a lifetime measure of problem gambling that has been found to be reliable and valid. This 16 item screening tool places individuals in one of three categories: Non-problem, Problem, or Probable Pathological Gambler.
    South Oaks Gambling Screen – Revised for Adolescents – This instrument is composed of 12 items and has been found to be valid and reliable for detecting gambling problems amongst adolescent populations.
    South Oaks Gambling Screen – Spanish – developed by Henry Lesieur, Ph.D., and Sheila Blume, M.D., as a screen for compulsive gambling. Translated into Spanish.2
    Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions – This questionnaire, which was developed by Gamblers Anonymous, is intended as a self-assessment for “compulsive gambling.” It has not been scientifically tested and validated, so caution should be exercised in its use.3

Click to view the SOGS and NODS scoring interpretation.2

Problem gambling affects more than just the gambling – it can have a profound impact on the lives on their loved ones, friends and even coworkers or employers. The following questionnaire, which was developed by Gam-Anon, is intended as an assessment for someone who may be living with a “compulsive gambler.” It has not been scientifically tested and validated, so caution should be exercised in its use: Gam-Anon Questions.4

Gamblers – Initial Assessment
During your initial intake of a client, you may wish to screen for problem gambling. There are many good tools to use for this, such as the NODS-CLiP:

    1. Have you ever tried to cut down or control your gambling?
    2. Have you ever lied to family members, friends or others about how much you gamble or how much money you lost gambling?
    3. Have there ever been periods lasting 2 weeks or longer when you spent a lot of time thinking about your gambling experiences or planning out future gambling ventures or bets?1

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of the above questions, further assessment is needed. Refer to the information below and call the California Helpline 1-800-GAMBLER (426-2537). The Helpline is free, confidential and available 24/7/365.

If you answered “No” to all of the questions, immediate referral is unlikely to be necessary; however, we recommend that you read about the signs of problem gambling, and how to lower your risk of it.

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