The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), along with a consortium of six provincial organizations, has completed development of the Canadian Adolescent Gambling Inventory (CAGI). The Phase III technical report outlines the process to finalize the tool —a 24-question survey that aims to better equip researchers and governments in identifying risky and problematic gambling behaviours in adolescents aged 13–17.
The questionnaire is specifically formulated to measure adolescent gambling problems, as well as the psychological and social harms, financial consequences and loss of control related to gambling behaviour. Now equipped with a common tool to reliably gauge the extent of teenage gambling, provincial and territorial authorities can begin to collect region-specific data. The findings, once compiled, can then be used to illustrate the prevalence of adolescent gambling on a national scale and help inform the development of treatment, prevention and intervention programs and policies.
The CAGI was developed in both French and English simultaneously to ensure its reliability when used with both French- and English-speaking adolescent populations. The tool went through two rounds of refinement testing on 2,400 students in secondary schools in Manitoba and Québec.
In 2003, an interprovincial group of funding partners was convened under the aegis of CCSA to oversee the development of the CAGI. The objective was to develop an instrument for assessing gambling risk and problem gambling in adolescent populations. This research was to be undertaken in three phases. Phase I included an examination of the gambling literature, consulting with an expert panel and conducting focus groups with adolescents. This process resulted in the development of a conceptual framework, an operational definition of adolescent problem gambling, and a draft pool of 51 candidate items for measuring gambling risk and problems among adolescents.
Phase II of the project involved testing English and French versions of the candidate items to determine which should be included in the final instrument. Data collection included a pilot test with students from Manitoba and Québec, followed by a general survey, a re-test from the general survey, and clinical validation interviews with students who initially participated in the general survey.
Phase III of the project involved fine-tuning the instrument through testing in clinical settings. Specifically, the phase was designed to assess the classification accuracy of the CAGI for detecting problem gambling behaviours against a clinical assessment, and to compare the CAGI with existing instruments for youth problem gambling.