WP 2016-02 Gambling Problems in the General Danish Population: Survey Evidence

Posted On June 2, 2016
Categories Working Papers, WP 2016

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ABSTRACT: We compare several popular survey instruments for measuring gambling behavior and gambling propensity to assess if they differ in their classification of individuals in the general adult Danish population. We also examine correlations with standard survey instruments for alcohol use, anxiety, depression and impulsivity. A feature of our design is that nobody was excluded on the basis of their response to a “trigger,” “gateway” or “diagnostic item” question about previous gambling history. Our sample consists of 8,405 adult Danes. We administered the Focal Adult Gambling Screen to all subjects and estimate prevalence of gambling problems using sample weights and controlling for sample selection. We find that 95.4% of the population has no detectable risk, 2.9% has an early risk, 0.8% has an intermediate risk, 0.7% has an advanced risk, and 0.2% can be classified as problem gamblers. There is a significant correlation with the scores of other gambling risk instruments and the instruments measuring alcohol use, anxiety, depression and impulsivity. Using sample weights and controlling for sample selection has a significant effect on prevalence rates: we observe a significant decrease in prevalence rates of detectable gambling risk groups, since gambling behavior is positively correlated with the decision to participate in gambling surveys. We also find that imposing a threshold gambling history leads to underestimation of the prevalence of gambling problems.