Impaired Awareness of Problem and Pathological Gambling: A Review.


Multimodal Imaging Group, Research Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. [Email]


Although well-recognized and clinically relevant, impaired awareness of problem and pathological gambling (IAPPG) is a poorly understood phenomenon that contributes to treatment denial and negative clinical and social outcomes. In this study, we aimed to conduct a systematic review of the measures available to assess problem gambling awareness, evaluate their psychometric properties, and determine the extent to which they cover the core domains of illness awareness: General Disorder Awareness, Symptom Attribution, Awareness of Need for Treatment, and Awareness of Negative Consequences. A systematic search using OVID database (Medline®, PsycINFO, and Embase) was performed to identify English language papers describing gambling awareness measures. We identified only 8 measures partially assessing IAPPG. Measures differed in their effectiveness and comprehensiveness in evaluating IAPPG. Most measures were principally developed to evaluate barriers or motivators to treatment-seeking among gamblers and were not specific to IAPPG. Two were psychometrically validated, but the items were not specific to the evaluation of subjective awareness of the disorder and they only covered up to two domains of IAPPG. With the development and psychometric validation of an easy-to-use, comprehensive measure of subjective IAPPG, future studies will be able to investigate the role of IAPPG in help-seeking behavior, treatment adherence, and clinical and social outcomes.


Gambling disorder,Illness awareness,Illness denial,Insight into illness,Pathological gambling,Problem gambling,

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