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Abstract

Background and aims

Multiple laboratories have proposed measures of subjective effects of psychedelics as potential mediators of their therapeutic impact. Other work has identified individual differences that covary with subjective responses in informative ways. The range of potential measures of responses, traits, and outcomes is vast. Ideas for new measures are likely numerous. The field will progress efficiently if proposed new scales can add incremental validity. Semantic Scale Network analyses identify conceptual overlap among scales based on items (rather than participant ratings), which could help laboratories avoid putting effort into measures that are unlikely to account for unique variance. Semantic Scale Network analyses can also reveal links to constructs from disparate research literatures, potentially helping investigators generate novel hypotheses and explain connections among disparate findings. The results of Semantic Scale Network analyses have the potential to improve as more investigators enter their scales into the corpus.

Method

Example analyses using the revised Mystical Experiences Questionnaire (MEQ) underscore the uniqueness and discriminant validity of the MEQ subscales.

Results

Findings dovetail with published theorizing and suggest potentially novel links with different therapeutic effects. The MEQ total or subscales overlap with measures of awe, inspiration, regret, dissatisfaction, transcendence, depression, fatigue, and spirituality. Links with measures of stress, alexithymia, and gender identity suggest lines of further work.

Conclusions

This analytic approach might suggest unique applications for psychedelic-assisted treatments and provide perspectives on phenomena outside the field. As psychedelic researchers enter their scales to the corpus for Semantic Scale Network analyses, the field will benefit.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Nerilee Hing, Alex M. T. Russell, Gabrielle M. Bryden, Philip Newall, Daniel L. King, Matthew Rockloff, Matthew Browne, and Nancy Greer

Abstract

Background and aims

Skin gambling uses in-game items (skins) acquired in video games, to gamble on esports, games of chance, other competitive events and privately with friends. This study examined characteristics of adolescent skin gamblers, their engagement in monetary gambling, and relationships between skin gambling and at risk/problem gambling.

Methods

Two samples of Australian adolescents aged 12–17 years were recruited to an online survey through advertisements (n = 843) and an online panel provider (n = 826).

Results

In both samples, past-month skin gamblers (n = 466 advertisements sample; n = 185 online panel sample) were more likely to have lower wellbeing, score as having an internet gaming disorder on the IGD, engage in more types of monetary gambling, and meet criteria for problem gambling on the DSM-IV-MR-J. Past-month skin gambling uniquely predicted problem gambling when controlling for past-month gambling on 11 monetary forms and the total number of monetary gambling forms.

Discussion and conclusions

Underage participation in skin gambling is a growing concern. The strong convergence between engagement in skin gambling and monetary gambling suggests common risk factors may increase the propensity of some adolescents to gamble on these multiple forms. Nonetheless, past-month skin gambling predicted problem gambling even when controlling for past-month monetary gambling, indicating its unique contribution to gambling problems and harm. While the study was based on non-probability samples, its results strengthen the case for regulatory reforms, age restrictions and public health education to prevent underage skin gambling and its potentially harmful consequences for children and young people.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Michelle Colder Carras, Vasileios Stavropoulos, Frosso Motti-Stefanidi, Alain Labrique, and Mark D. Griffiths

Abstract

In August of 2021, China imposed severe restrictions on children’s online gaming time. We argue that such a policy may seem useful on the surface but does not reflect the current evidence concerning prevention of disordered gaming. Videogame play is normal for children worldwide, and like other leisure activities can lead to benefits for the majority and problems for a minority. Problematic or disordered play results from the interaction of multiple risk factors that are not addressed by draconian policy measures. Identifying these factors through stakeholder-engaged research and current evidence will be much more likely to succeed in preventing disordered gaming and promoting youth wellbeing.

Open access

Abstract

Background and Aims

Despite problematic pornography use (PPU) being prevalent, no previous study has examined the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions for PPU, using rigorous methods. Using a two-armed randomized controlled trial study design, we examined the feasibility and initial effectiveness of a six-week online PPU intervention.

Methods

We recruited 264 participants (3.8% women, M age = 33.2, SD = 10.6) who were randomized and assigned to either the self-help intervention (n = 123) or waitlist control condition (n = 141), and completed self-report questionnaires at baseline and after the end of the intervention (six-week follow-up). Multivariable linear regression models were generated and tested on a complete case basis to investigate possible treatment effects. Participants provided quantitative and qualitative feedback regarding the intervention’s content and appearance.

Results

Participants evaluated all modules positively in the intervention in general. There were differential dropout rates (89.4% in intervention vs. 44.7% in control group) with an overall follow-up rate of 34.5%. The intervention group reported significantly lower levels of PPU (P < 0.001, d = 1.32) at the six-week follow-up. Moreover, they reported lower pornography use frequency (P < 0.001, d = 1.65), self-perceived pornography addiction (P = 0.01, d = 0.85), pornography craving (P = 0.02, d = 0.40), and higher pornography avoidance self-efficacy (P = 0.001, d = 0.87) at the six-week follow-up.

Discussion and Conclusions

The present study was only a first step in rigorous treatment studies for PPU, but the findings are promising and suggest that online interventions for PPU might help reduce PPU in some cases, even without the guidance of therapists, by reducing treatment barriers.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Wei-Ran Zhou, Min Wang, Hao-Hao Dong, Zhaojie Zhang, Xiaoxia Du, Marc N. Potenza, and Guang-Heng Dong

Abstract

Background

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is a type of behavioral addiction characterized by poorly controlled and interfering patterns of game playing. Studies have suggested that the IGD is usually accompanied by increased desire or craving for gaming, suggesting that secondary rewards related to gaming may become more salient than those for primary rewards like food. However, this hypothesis has not been formally tested and potential neural mechanisms remain unclear.

Methods

This is a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study. Twenty-one IGD subjects and 23 matched individuals with recreational game use (RGU) were scanned when exposed to gaming (secondary rewards), food (primary rewards) and neutral cues. Group-by-cue-type interaction analyses and subsequent within-group analyses for fMRI data were performed and seed-based functional connectivity (FC) analyses explored further potential neural features.

Results

IGD subjects’ subjective craving responses to gaming cues were higher than to food cues, while the opposite was observed in RGU subjects. Group-by-cue interaction effects implicated the precuneus and precuneus-caudate FC. Simple effect analysis showed that for IGD subjects, gaming-related cues elicited higher FC in precuneus-caudate relationships than did food-related cues. In the RGU subjects, the opposite was observed. Significant correlations were found between brain features and craving scores.

Conclusions

These results support the hypothesis regarding imbalances in sensitivities to different types of reward in IGD, and suggest neural mechanisms by which craving for gaming may make secondary rewards more salient than primary ones, thus promoting participation in addictive patterns of gaming.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Joseph Studer, Simon Marmet, Gerhard Gmel, Matthias Wicki, Florian Labhart, Céline Gachoud, Jean-Bernard Daeppen, and Nicolas Bertholet

Abstract

Background and Aims

There are concerns about the potential impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on substance use (SU) and other reinforcing behaviours (ORB). This paper investigates changes in SU and ORB among young men during the COVID-19 crisis (i.e. March–June 2020).

Methods

Before and during the COVID-19 crisis, 2,344 young Swiss men completed questionnaires covering SU (i.e. alcohol, cigarettes, illegal cannabis), ORB (i.e. gaming, watching TV series, internet pornography) and sociodemographic and work-related characteristics (i.e. deterioration in the work situation, change in working hours, change in working hours from home, healthcare workers’ and other professionals’ contacts with potentially infected people, linguistic region, call up to military or civil protection unit, living situation, age).

Results

Latent-change score models showed significant decreases of 17% for drinking volume and frequency of heavy episodic drinking, and a significant increase of 75% for time spent gaming and watching TV series. Subgroups showed greater relative increases. French-speaking participants, those who experienced a deterioration in their work situation and healthcare workers in contact with potentially infected people reported increased cigarette use. Those without children increased gaming, whereas those who worked fewer hours, experienced a deterioration in their work situation or were French-speaking did more gaming and watched more TV series. Those who lived alone or were German-speaking watched more internet pornography.

Conclusion

During the COVID-19 crisis, young Swiss men drank less alcohol and spent more time gaming and watching TV series. Changes in SU and ORB were not homogenous in the young Swiss men population.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Clémence Cabelguen, Bruno Rocher, Juliette Leboucher, Benoît Schreck, Gaëlle Challet-Bouju, Jean-Benoît Hardouin, and Marie Grall-Bronnec

Abstract

Background and aims

Since June 2018, gaming disorder (GD) has been recognized as a disease. It is frequently associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as there are common vulnerability factors and bidirectional interactions between the two disorders. This study aims to evaluate the presence of ADHD symptoms and predictive factors of ADHD among patients with GD.

Methods

Ninety-seven patients ≥16 years old referred to the University Hospital of Nantes between 2012 and 2020 for GD were included. The diagnosis of GD was given a posteriori in accordance with the new ICD-11 GD definition. ADHD was screened using the Adult-ADHD Self-Report Scale and the Wender-Utah Rating Scale. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify explanatory factors for ADHD-GD comorbidity.

Results

The rate of GD patients who screened positive for ADHD was 39%. Predictive factors of ADHD-GD comorbidity were impulsivity (higher score on the negative urgency dimension) and low self-esteem.

Discussion

The rate of ADHD found among patients with GD is consistent with that from the literature on internet GD but higher than that found for other behavioural addictions. The identification of a higher negative urgency score and low self-esteem as predictive factors of AHDH-GD comorbidity indicates that gaming could be considered a dysfunctional way to cope with emotional dysregulation in ADHD or to virtually escape.

Conclusions

Comorbid ADHD must be taken into consideration to minimize its functional impact on GD patients and gaming-related damage. In contrast, the evaluation of gaming habits in patients with ADHD could be useful for both prevention and care.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a grim challenge to adolescents’ daily life, including schooling and learning, which has great impacts on their mental and behavioral health. This study aimed to test the roles of stress related to schooling and online learning during COVID-19 (COVID-19 stress) in depression and Internet gaming disorder (IGD) among adolescents and the potential mediators of social support, academic stress, and maladaptive emotion regulation based on the framework of Conservation of Resources theory. Sex differences in these associations were further examined.

Methods

A school-based survey was conducted among Chinese adolescents in 13 secondary schools in Hong Kong (n = 3,136) from September to November 2020 (48.1% males; mean age = 13.6 years old) using stratified random sampling.

Results

The prevalence of probable depression and IGD was 60% and 15%, respectively. Results of structural equation modeling indicated that the proposed model fit the data well (χ2/df = 7.77, CFI = 0.92, IFI = 0.92, RMSEA = 0.05). COVID-19 stress was positively and indirectly associated with both depression and IGD through social support, academic stress, and maladaptive emotion regulation. Multi-group analyses identified that the associations between COVID-19 stress and academic stress, between academic stress and depression, and between social support and depression were stronger among females compared to males.

Discussion and conclusions

Findings highlight the roles of academic stress, poor social support, maladaptive emotion regulation, and sex to understand how disruption and stress caused by COVID-19 increases adolescent depression and IGD. Psychosocial interventions based on these factors are highly warranted.

Open access

Abstract

Trauma exposure across the lifespan produces risks for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, as well as global disability in functioning. This retrospective clinical chart review is the first of its kind to assess the utility of sublingual ketamine-assisted body-centered psychotherapy in trauma-exposed patients in a real world clinic setting. De-identified clinical records data on self-reported symptom measures were retrospectively analyzed for patients (N = 18; M age = 45.22, SD = 12.90) entering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatment in an outpatient clinic between 2018 and 2020. Patients who completed six sessions of ketamine therapy reported meaningful (e.g., medium effect size) improvements in PTSD symptoms (P = 0.058; d = −0.48) and global disability in functioning (P = 0.050; d = −0.52) and statistically significant and meaningful improvements in depression (P = 0.019; d = −0.53). There were no improvements in anxiety symptoms. Sublingual ketamine-assisted psychotherapy was associated with heterogenous clinical utility among patients with trauma-exposure in an outpatient setting. This study was underpowered and unrepresentative of the population of ketamine patients in the United States. Replication of these findings is needed with larger and more diverse patient samples.

Open access