Reliability, validity, and classification accuracy of the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS)

R. Stinchfield

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367 Scopus citations


The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) was originally developed to screen for pathological gambling in clinical settings; however, its use has expanded to other purposes, settings, and populations, including prevalence studies of pathological gambling in the general population. Questions have been raised about the accuracy of the SOGS with its use in these new settings and populations. The purpose of this study is to examine current estimates of the reliability, validity, and classification accuracy of the SOGS in two different samples: (a) a general population sample (N=803) and (b) a gambling treatment sample (N=1589). DSM-IV diagnostic criteria served as the standard against which to measure the SOGS classification accuracy and both the SOGS and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria were administered to participants. The SOGS was found to have satisfactory reliability with coefficient alphas of .69 and .86 in the general population and gambling treatment samples, respectively. The SOGS demonstrated satisfactory validity by differentiating between the general population and the gambling treatment sample and by exhibiting high correlations with DSM-IV diagnostic criteria and moderate correlations with other measures of gambling problem severity. The SOGS demonstrated good to excellent classification accuracy in the gambling treatment sample, but had poorer accuracy in the general population sample with a 50% false positive rate. The SOGS overestimated the number of pathological gamblers in the general population, as compared to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data was collected from two different sources and I would like to acknowledge those subjects and data collection staff: (a) Rosanna Armson, of the Minnesota Center for Survey Research at the University of Minnesota; and (b) Minnesota gambling treatment program clients and staff. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Ken Winters for his collaboration in developing the pathological gambling diagnostic criteria items from the DSM-IV. This study was funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Jay Bambery, director of the Compulsive Gambling Program, Minnesota Department of Human Services. I would like to thank Dr. Shelley Blozis and the Minnesota Department of Human Services Gambling Research Subcommittee for providing feedback on an earlier draft of this paper. Finally, I would like to thank the research staff at the University of Minnesota for their assistance in managing data collection and data entry, including: Timothy Rich, Carina Eisenmenger, David Huihui, Mike Nelson, and Emily Rohr.


  • Pathological gambling
  • South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS)


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