Screening and assessment tools are used as part of an ongoing, collaborative process between client and counsellor to determine whether a problem exists and the degree of severity and impact.
The PGSI is an abbreviated version of the original tool called the
Canadian Problem Gambling Index, consisting of nine items rather than 31. Clients can use it as a self-assessment tool, or you can use it as part of your screening process.
The original 31-item tool, which measures gambling involvement, problem gambling behaviour and consequences, was initially developed to measure the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling in the general population. Research is currently being done to test its use with a treatment population.
Gambling Quiz is an online version of the PGSI, and a PDF version is downloadable below.
Problem Gambling Severity Index - English
Problem Gambling Severity Index - French
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version 5 (DSM-5) is the primary system used to classify and diagnose mental health disorders. The DSM-5 criteria for “Gambling Disorder” is mostly used in the U.S. because many American insurance companies require an official diagnosis before they will cover the cost of treatment. This is not generally the case in Canada but the DSM-5 can be used as a guideline to identify problem gambling in clients.
The criteria for "Gambling Disorder" in the DSM-5 are listed below.
Specify if:Episodic: Meeting diagnostic criteria at more than one time point, with symptoms subsiding between periods of gambling disorder for at least several months.
Persistent: Experiencing continuous symptoms, to meet diagnostic criteria for multiple years.
Learn more about
Gambling Disorder in the DSM-5.
Source: American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. [Refer to section 312.31]
The IGS is a treatment planning and/or relapse prevention tool developed by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Learn more about
The NODS-CLiP is a three-question assessment tool that is effective in identifying people who have gambling problems. If one or more of the three questions is answered with a "yes," the person may have a problem with gambling, which then needs to be further explored (e.g., using the PGSI). Learn more about