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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Abdullah Murhaf Al-Khani, Juliann Saquib, Ahmad Mamoun Rajab, Mohamed Abdelghafour Khalifa, Abdulrahman Almazrou, and Nazmus Saquib

Abstract

Background and aims

The prevalence of internet addiction (IA) varies widely in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (4%–82.6%). We aimed to assess the quality of IA studies from the GCC and pool their data to get an accurate estimate of the problem of IA in the region.

Methods

A systematic review of available studies was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials were systematically searched; studies conducted in GCC countries (i.e., Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) with a validated instrument for internet addiction assessment were eligible. Ten studies were eligible for the systematic review, all of which were included in the meta-analysis. The Newcastle Ottawa Scale was used for quality assessment.

Results

Nine out of ten of the included studies had either adolescent and/or young adult participants (age < 25). Two studies were of ‘good’ quality, six were of ‘satisfactory’ quality, and two were of ‘unsatisfactory’ quality. The pooled internet addiction prevalence was 33%; it was significantly higher among females than males (male = 24%, female = 48%, P = 0.05) and has significantly increased over time (P < 0.05).

Discussion and conclusions

One in every three individuals in GCC countries was deemed to be addicted to the internet, according to Young's Internet Addiction Test. A root cause analysis focusing on family structure, environment, and religious practices is needed to identify modifiable risk factors.

Open access

Abstract

Backgrounds and aims

Internet addiction (IA) is a common internet-related addictive behavior. An enormous amount of previous research on IA disorders (IADs) have paid attention to the neural basis of abnormalities, while few studies have elucidated the neural distinctions of IA tendency in general population.

Methods

The current study examined the neural basis of IA tendency combining with voxel-based morphometry (VBM) from the average student body (N = 244).

Results

As the results presented, the gray matter density (GMD) of the left temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) was positively correlated with Internet Addiction Test (IAT) score. Further analysis revealed that critical thinking moderated the path between GMD in the TPJ and IA tendency. Specifically, the correlation between GMD in the TPJ and IA tendency was weaker for those with a higher critical thinking disposition.

Discussion and conclusion

Higher critical thinking show a hindering effect in susceptibility to IA based on the neural basis of temporal-parietal junction differences.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the psychedelic plant tea, ayahuasca, holds therapeutic potential. Uthaug et al. (2018) demonstrated that a single dose of ayahuasca improved mental health sub-acutely and 4-weeks post-ceremony in healthy participants. The present study aimed to replicate and extend these findings. A first objective was to assess the sub-acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca on mental health and well-being in first-time and experienced users. A second aim was to extend the assessment of altered states of consciousness and how they relate to changes in mental health.

Method

Ayahuasca ceremony attendants (N = 73) were assessed before, the day after, and four weeks following the ceremony.

Results

We replicated the reduction in self-reported stress 4-weeks post ceremony, but, in contrast, found no reduction in depression. Also, increased satisfaction with life and awareness the day after the ceremony, and its return to baseline 4 weeks later, were replicated. New findings were: reduced ratings of anxiety and somatization, and increased levels of non-judging 4-weeks post-ceremony. We replicated the relation between altered states of consciousness (e.g., experienced ego dissolution during the ceremony) and mental health outcomes sub-acutely. The effects of ayahuasca did not differ between experienced and first-time users.

Conclusion

Partly in line with previous findings, ayahuasca produces long-term improvements in affect in non-clinical users. Furthermore, sub-acute mental health ratings are related to the intensity of the psychedelic experience. Although findings replicate and highlight the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca, this needs to be confirmed in placebo-controlled studies.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) is characterized by increased reactivity to erotic reward cues. Cue-encoded reward parameters, such as type (e.g. erotic or monetary) or probability of anticipated reward, shape reward-related motivational processes, increase the attractiveness of cues and therefore might enhance maladaptive behavioral patterns in CSBD. Studies on the neural patterns of cue processing in individuals with CSBD have been limited mainly to ventral striatal responses. Therefore, here we aimed to examine the cue reactivity of multiple key structures in the brain's reward system, taking into account not only the type of predicted reward but also its probability.

Methods

Twenty Nine men seeking professional help due to CSBD and 24 healthy volunteers took part in an fMRI study with a modified Incentive Delay Task with erotic and monetary rewards preceded by cues indicating a 25%, 50%, or 75% chance of reward. Analyses of functional patterns of activity related to cue type and probability were conducted on the whole-brain and ROI levels.

Results

Increased anticipatory response to cues predictive of erotic rewards was observed among CSBD participants when compared to controls, in the ventral striatum and anterior orbitofrontal cortex (aOFC). The activity in aOFC was modulated by reward probability.

Discussion and conclusions

Type of anticipated reward (erotic vs monetary) affects reward-related behavioral motivation in CSBD more strongly than reward probability. We present evidence of abnormal aOFC function in CSBD by demonstrating the recruitment of additional subsections of this region by erotic reward cues.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Esports betting is an emerging gambling activity where individuals place bets on an organized video gaming competition. It represents only one of several gambling activities commonly endorsed by adolescents. To date, limited research has explored the relationship between esports betting and mental health among adolescents and its convergence with both problem gambling (PG) and problem video gaming (PVG). The present study examined the relation between esports betting, PG and PVG, and both externalizing and internalizing problems among adolescents while accounting for adolescents' video gaming intensity (i.e., how often they play 2 h or more in a day) and engagement in other gambling activities.

Methods

Data was collected from 6,810 adolescents in Wood County, Ohio schools. A subset of 1,348 adolescents (M age = 14.67 years, SD = 1.73, 64% male) who had gambled and played video games during the past year were included in the analyses.

Results

Approximately 20% (n = 263) of the included sample had bet on esports during the past year. Esports betting was positively correlated with other forms of gambling, both PG and PVG, and externalizing behaviors. Mediation analyses revealed esports betting was associated to both internalizing and externalizing problems through PVG and not PG.

Conclusions

Esports betting may be particularly appealing to adolescents who are enthusiastic video gamers. As such, regulators must be vigilant to ensure codes of best practices are applied to esports betting operators specifically for underaged individuals.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Mehdi Akbari, Mohammad Seydavi, Marcantonio M. Spada, Shahram Mohammadkhani, Shiva Jamshidi, Alireza Jamaloo, and Fatemeh Ayatmehr

Abstract

Online gaming has become an essential form of entertainment with the advent of technology and a large sway of research has been undertaken to understand its various permutations. Previous reviews have identified associations between the Big Five personality traits and online gaming, but a systematic review and meta-analysis on the association between these constructs has yet to be undertaken. In the current study we aimed to fill this gap in the literature through a systematic review and meta-analysis comprising of 17 studies and 25,634 individuals (AgeMean = 26.55, males = 75%). The findings showed that agreeableness, extraversion, openness to experience, and neuroticism were not ubiquitously associated with online gaming. The findings showed that only conscientiousness, across samples, had a protective role in online gaming. Furthermore, there were non-significant variations in the Big Five personality traits associations with online gaming when comparing gamers to the general population, younger versus older participants, casual versus ‘hardcore’ gamers, and high versus low traits (with the exception of neuroticism). As a result of our observations, the underlying mechanisms of individual differences in online gaming remain unclear. Limitations and future directions for research are discussed.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Problematic social media use (PSMU) has received growing attention in the last fifteen years. Even though PSMU has been extensively studied, its internal structure is not fully understood. We used network analysis to evaluate which symptoms and associations between symptoms are most central to PSMU – as assessed by the Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale-2 adapted for PSMU – among undergraduates.

Method

Network analysis was applied to a large gender-balanced sample of undergraduates (n = 1344 participants; M = 51.9%; mean age = 22.50 ± 2.20 years).

Results

The most central nodes in the network were the difficulty of controlling one’s own use of social media, the tendency to think obsessively about going online, the difficulties in resisting the urge to use social media and the preference for communicating with people online rather than face-to-face. This last element was strongly associated with a general preference for online social interactions and the feeling of being more comfortable online. The network was robust to stability and accuracy tests. The mean levels of symptoms and symptom centrality were not associated.

Conclusions

Deficient self-regulation and preference for online communication were the most central symptoms of PSMU, suggesting that these symptoms should be prioritized in theoretical models of PSMU and could also serve as important treatment targets for PSMU interventions.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

To understand the interaction between problematic smartphone use (PSU) and related influencing factors (individual variables, family environment, and school environment) and to determine the most influential factors affecting the use of smartphones by juveniles to implement effective interventions in the future.

Methods

A total of 3,442 children and adolescents (3,248 actual participants (males = 1,638, average age = 12.27 ± 2.36)) were included in the study. This study measured juveniles’ PSU and its influencing factors: individual variables (4 factors), family environments (13 factors), and school environments (5 factors). This study employed a network analysis approach for data assessment.

Results

This study found that there were several central influencing factors (such as self-control ability, loss of control, parent-child relationship, and peer attitudes towards smartphone use) and bridge factors (such as peer attitudes towards smartphone use, peer pressure for smartphone use, and fear of missing out).

Discussion and conclusions

Juveniles’ PSU included several core symptoms and critical influencing factors. Intervention based on these factors may be effective, timely, and inexpensive.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Esports betting is expanding in popularity, yet little is known about who participates in this niche gambling activity. This study aimed to determine whether esports bettors are more vulnerable to harms and problems than gamblers engaged in traditional sports betting.

Methods

Data were collected from 298 regular esports bettors and 300 sports bettors (who regularly bet on traditional sports, but not esports). These groups were compared on demographics, gambling involvement, problem gambling, and gambling-related harms.

Results

Compared to sports bettors, esports bettors were more likely to be younger, university-educated, employed (lower income earners), and speak a non-English language at home. Esports bettors gambled on fewer traditional gambling activities in the last 12 months, but compared to sports bettors, gambled more frequently on some activities, were more likely to meet problem gambler criteria (64.8.% vs 17.3%), and experience at least one gambling-related harm (81.9% vs 45.3%). Being an esports bettor significantly predicted greater problem gambling severity and gambling-related harms. More frequent esports skin betting and skin gambling (on games of chance) were significant predictors of gambling problems amongst esports bettors.

Discussion and conclusion

The results provide preliminary evidence that esports bettors are more likely to experience gambling problems compared to their sports betting counterparts, potentially stemming from their involvement in emerging video-game related gambling products.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Pathological skin-picking (PSP) or excoriation disorder is a destructive behavior that affects 1-2% of the general population. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effect of a computerized behavior modification task on action-tendencies (i.e., approach or avoidance) in adults with PSP. We aimed to modify these action-tendencies by having participants with PSP complete the Approach-Avoidance Training (AAT) task, using a joystick to simulate an approach (=pull) or avoidance (=push) response.

Method

Forty-five participants diagnosed with PSP were randomized to one of three training conditions: (1) Avoidance Training (AvT; n = 15), (2) Approach Training (ApT; n = 15), or (3) Placebo Training (PT; n = 15). We hypothesized that after training, those in the AvT would have the greatest reduction in behavioral approach (i.e., their overall reaction time [RT] to approach pictures of irregular skin stimuli).

Results

Results of the pre-training assessment task revealed a positive correlation between behavioral approach to irregular skin stimuli and skin-picking severity as assessed by the Skin Picking Scale-Revised (SPS-R). After training, a lower behavioral approach and urges to pick were found in the AvT and PT groups, while those in the ApT reported higher behavioral approach and urges to pick. At two-week follow-up, no significant changes on the SPS-R were reported between groups.

Discussion

Our preliminary data suggest that the AAT is a promising avenue of research to develop as a cognitive intervention to address an excessive behavioral approach tendency that characterizes skin-picking problems.

Open access