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      Gamblers’ (mis-)interpretations of Problem Gambling Severity Index items: Ambiguities in qualitative accounts from the Swedish Longitudinal Gambling Study

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          Abstract

          The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) is a screening instrument frequently used to identify risk and problem gambling. Even though the PGSI has good psychometric properties, it still produces a large proportion of misclassifications.

          Aims:

          To explore possible reasons for misclassifications in problem gambling level by analysing previously classified moderate-risk gamblers’ answers to the PGSI items, in relation to their own current and past gambling behaviours.

          Methods:

          Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 19 participants reporting no negative consequences from gambling. They were asked the PGSI questions within an eight-year time frame (2008 to 2016). Ambiguous answers to PGSI items were subject to content analysis.

          Results:

          Several answers to the PGSI items contained ambiguities and misinterpretations, making it difficult to assess to what extent their answers actually indicated any problematic gambling over time. The item about feelings of guilt generated accounts rather reflecting self-recrimination over wasting money or regretting gambling as a meaningless or immoral activity. The item concerning critique involved mild interpretations such as being ridiculed for buying lottery tickets or getting comments for being boring. Similar accounts were given by the participants irrespective of initial endorsement of the items. Other possible reasons for misclassifications were related to recall bias, language difficulties, selective memory, and a tendency to answer one part of the question without taking the whole question into account.

          Conclusions:

          Answers to the PGSI can contain a variety of meanings based on the respondents’ subjective interpretations. Reports of lower levels of harm in the population should thus be interpreted with caution. In clinical settings it is important to combine use of screening instruments with interviews, to be able to better understand gamblers’ perceptions of the gambling behaviour and its negative consequences.

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          Most cited references30

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          Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers.

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            Common Method Bias in Marketing: Causes, Mechanisms, and Procedural Remedies

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Nordisk Alkohol Nark
                Nordisk Alkohol Nark
                NAD
                spnad
                Nordisk alkohol- & narkotikatidskrift : NAT
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                1455-0725
                1458-6126
                9 April 2019
                April 2019
                : 36
                : 2 , Thematic issue: Gambling policy
                : 140-160
                Affiliations
                [1-1455072519829407]Stockholm University, Sweden
                [2-1455072519829407]Stockholm University, Sweden
                [3-1455072519829407]Stockholm University, Sweden
                Author notes
                [*]Eva Samuelsson, Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Email: eva.samuelsson@ 123456socarb.su.se
                Article
                10.1177_1455072519829407
                10.1177/1455072519829407
                7434121
                cd94baf5-5f8e-44b6-a872-3db3ae1b8d69
                © The Author(s) 2019

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

                History
                : 6 April 2018
                : 20 September 2018
                Categories
                Research Reports

                gamblers’ perceptions,gambling screening instrument,harm,pgsi,qualitative analysis

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