Presentation by: Sean Sullivan
Conference: International Conference on Gambling
Date: September 2006
Title: Don’t let an opportunity go by: the validation of the EIGHT gambling screen as a generic tool
Relatively few people affected by their gambling seek help to reduce harm from that gambling. Those that do seek help are usually late-stage problem gamblers that attend with often complex health and social issues to address. Earlier identification of gambling issues may prevent the intensification of the harm, while brief, opportunistic screening may provide a help pathway for the estimated high proportion of those who do not seek help. A brief screen that is simple to score, and that may identify early, as well as later stage gambling problems, may address some of the barriers that may exist to opportunistic identification of gambling problems amongst those accessing a range of social and health services. This paper reports upon a project to identify the psychometrics of the EIGHT (Early Intervention Gambling Health Test) screen and its validity to identify stages of problem gambling. The triangulated process used is a common approach where, such is the case with problem gambling, there is no ‘gold standard’ available that is definitive of the condition.

The EIGHT gambling screen was provided, together with the SOGS or NODS screens, to those attending alcohol and other drug services, primary health organizations, and specialist gambling treatment services. The project identified significant levels of problem gambling in the non-specialist settings, and both opportunities and barriers to screening in these settings. Screen comparison indicated appropriate cut-offs for the EIGHT screen for Levels 1 to 3 problem gambling, and that the EIGHT screen is a valid instrument to measure these levels of problem gambling.

The use of the EIGHT screen currently in New Zealand and overseas, contributes to identifying the acceptability, cultural validity, and practicality of the EIGHT screen, as well as the psychometric properties of the screen through comparison with other measures.