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Validation of the Gambling Perceived Stigma Scale (GPSS) and the Gambling Experienced Stigma Scale (GESS)

Phillip Donaldson, Erika Langham, Talitha Best, Matthew Browne


Australian research shows that stigma is a major barrier to treatment seeking (Rockloff, 2004) and may impede the accurate measurement of problem gambling prevalence. To date, no validated tool is available to assess the stigma associated with gambling. This project investigated both internally experienced and externalised (perceived) stigma associated with gambling, as measured with two new survey instruments were developed for this purpose. We reviewed existing measures of stigma associated with other non-gambling behaviours (e.g., alcohol, drug abuse, smoking, eating disorders) to construct items that were conceptually related to gambling behaviour. The scales were then validated by using a large representative community sample (N = 1366). Internal reliability analysis, factor analysis, and multivariate analysis were used to analyse the results and to explore the measurement of perceived and self-stigma in a community sample, taking into account respondents' gambling experience and relevant socio-demographic information. Results supported a model of perceived stigma along two dimensions (Contempt and Ostracism) and a unidimensional model of experienced stigma. The scales were shown to have strong psychometric properties and to differentiate well between stigmas associated with recreational and problem gambling behaviours. A scale that measures stigma related to gambling behaviour will provide researchers, policymakers, industry bodies, and clinicians with a tool that contributes to a growing understanding of the gambling experiences of individuals and the impacts of gambling on communities.


Gambling; stigma; scale; scale development; enacted stigma; perceived stigma; problem gambling

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