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J Gambl Stud. 1994 Dec;10(4):339-62. doi: 10.1007/BF02104901.

Pathological gambling among adolescents: Massachusetts Gambling Screen (MAGS).

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Norman E. Zinberg Center for Addiction Studies, USA.


This article describes the development of the Massachusetts Gambling Screen (MAGS). The purpose of the MAGS is to provide a brief clinical screening instrument that can (1) yield an index of non-pathological and pathological gambling during a 5 to 10 minute survey or interview and (2) document the first psychometric translation of the proposed DSM-IV pathological gambling criteria into a set of survey or clinical interview questions. The development data for this instrument were obtained from a survey of 856 adolescents who were students in suburban Boston high schools. The results provided evidence that weighted item scores (i.e., discriminant function coefficients) could correctly classify 96% of adolescent gamblers as pathological, in transition or non-pathological when DSM-IV criteria were employed as the conceptual referent. The results also describe the prevalence of a variety of social and emotional problems associated with adolescent gambling. Finally, the discussion examined the normalization and contemporary social context of gaming and the impact of these influences on the measurement and identification of pathological gambling.


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