Brief screens can help people decide whether to seek formal evaluation of their gambling behavior. The 3-item BBGS is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for Gambling Disorder.
A “yes” response to any single item indicates potential gambling-related problems and the need for additional evaluation.
For identifying individuals with Gambling Disorder, Gebauer and colleagues (2010) report that the BBGS has good psychometric characteristics: high sensitivity (0.96) and high specificity (0.99). The Positive Predictive Value of the BBGS is 0.37. This suggests that one of the three individuals who screen positive on the BBGS will be identified as having Gambling Disorder after full follow-up.
Researchers other than the original authors have completed independent evaluation of the BBGS. For example, Brett et al. (2014) concluded that the BBGS was psychometrically robust to the DSM-5’s diagnostic protocol changes, but specifically would improve if a two-item endorsement were adopted: high sensitivity (0.99) and high specificity (0.83). Likewise, an evaluation of the BBGS among a substance using population also suggested solid psychometric features: high sensitivity (0.91) and high specificity (0.87). Clinical researchers have used the BBGS with a number of populations, including veterans, college students, and opioid substitution therapy patients, among others.