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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

Abstract

Background and aims

People can engage in excessive, maladaptive use of social media platforms. This problematic social media use mirrors substance use disorders with regard to symptoms and certain behavioral situations. For example, individuals with substance use disorders demonstrate aberrations in risk evaluations during decision making, and initial research on problematic social media use has revealed similar findings. However, these results concerning problematic social media use have been clouded by tasks that involve learning and that lack a clear demarcation between risky and ambiguous decision making. Therefore, we set out to specifically determine the relationship between problematic social media use and decision making under both risk and ambiguity, in the absence of learning.

Methods

We assessed each participant's (N = 90) self-reported level of problematic social media use. We then had them perform the wheel of fortune task, which has participants make choices between a sure option or either a risky or ambiguous gamble. In this way, the task isolates decisions made under risk and ambiguity, and avoids trial-to-trial learning. Results: We found that the greater an individual's problematic social media use, the more often that individual choses high-risk gambles or ambiguous gambles, regardless of the degree of ambiguity.

Discussion and conclusions

Our findings indicate that greater problematic social media use is related to a greater affinity for high-risk situations and overall ambiguity. These findings have implications for the field, specifically clarifying and extending the extant literature, as well as providing future avenues for research.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Andreas M. Bickl, Larissa Schwarzkopf, Johanna K. Loy, Bettina Grüne, Barbara Braun-Michl, Pawel Sleczka, Jenny Cisneros Örnberg, and Ludwig Kraus

Abstract

Background and aim

Evidence on the course of gambling disorder (GD) in clients seeking help from outpatient addiction care facilities is sparse. To close this knowledge gap, this longitudinal one-armed cohort study portrays the development of GD in help-seeking clients over a 3-year timeframe.

Methods

We investigated changes in severity of GD as well as in gambling frequency and intensity in 145 gamblers in outpatient treatment in Bavaria using generalized estimation equations (GEEs). To investigate potentially different trajectories between study participants with and without migration background (MB), additional analyses were applied with time*migration interaction. All analyses were adjusted for age, gender, education, electronic gambling machine (EGM) gambling, MB, GD, related help sought before and treatment status.

Results

Within the entire study population, improvements in severity of GD (reduction of 39.2%), gambling intensity (reduction of 75.6%) and gambling frequency (reduction of 77.0%) were observed between baseline and 36 months of follow-up. The declines were most pronounced between baseline and follow-up 1 and stabilized thereafter. Participants with MB improved consistently less than participants without MB.

Discussion and conclusion

Our study suggests that severity of GD and gambling patterns improve in the context of outpatient treatment. The beneficial results furthermore persist for 36 months after treatment termination. As clients with MB seem to profit less than clients without MB, improvements in outpatient gambling services to the specific needs of this clientele are required.

Open access

Abstract

Background and Aims

Casino loyalty programs are marketing strategies designed to foster attitudinal (i.e., identification and satisfaction) and behavioral (i.e., spending) loyalty among gamblers by offering rewards to members. Casino loyalty programs use a tier-based structure to segment members who spend more money into higher tiers, where they receive better rewards (compared to lower tiered members). Tier-based structures may encourage increased expenditure among patrons, especially among players living with a gambling disorder. The current work aimed to examine whether tier status and disordered gambling symptomatology interact to predict attitudinal and behavioral loyalty.

Methods

Study 1 used a cross-sectional design to examine whether tier status and disordered gambling symptomatology interact to predict self-reported loyalty among a sample of American casino loyalty program members (N = 396). In Study 2, archival player account data from Canadian casino loyalty program members (N = 649) were analyzed to examine whether tier status and disordered gambling symptomatology interact to predict objective measures of behavioral loyalty.

Results

The greatest effect of tier status on attitudinal and behavioral loyalty was observed among non-problem gamblers in the highest tiers. Tier status, however, did not influence loyalty among members high in disordered gambling symptomatology.

Discussion

Results suggest that once gambling has become problematic, loyalty programs may not influence player attitudes and behaviors. Non-problem gamblers may be particularly susceptible to the tiered structure of the programs.

Conclusion

Non-problem gamblers may benefit from casino loyalty programs in the short-term but longitudinal research is needed to understand the long-term influence of membership.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Alessandra Lugo, Chiara Stival, Luca Paroni, Andrea Amerio, Giulia Carreras, Giuseppe Gorini, Luisa Mastrobattista, Adele Minutillo, Claudia Mortali, Anna Odone, Roberta Pacifici, Biagio Tinghino, and Silvano Gallus

Abstract

Background and aims

Few preliminary studies have shown an impact of COVID-19 confinement on gambling habits. We aim to evaluate short-term effects of lockdown restrictions on gambling behaviors in Italy.

Methods

Within the project Lost in Italy, a web-based cross-sectional study was conducted on a representative sample of 6,003 Italians aged 18–74 years, enrolled during April 27–May 3 2020, and were asked to report gambling activity before the lockdown and at the time of interview.

Results

The prevalence of participants reporting any gambling decreased from 16.3% before lockdown to 9.7% during lockdown. Traditional gambling decreased from 9.9 to 2.4% and online gambling from 9.9 to 8.0%. Among gamblers, median time of gambling grew from 4.5 to 5.1 h/month. Among non-players before lockdown, 1.1% started playing. Among players before lockdown, 19.7% increased gambling activity. Multivariate analysis showed an increase in gambling activity in younger generations (p for trend = 0.001), current smokers (odds ratio, OR 1.48), users of electronic cigarettes (OR 1.63), heated tobacco products (OR 1.82), cannabis (OR 5.16), psychotropic drugs (OR 3.93), and subjects having hazardous alcohol drinking (OR 1.93). Self-reported low quality of life (OR 1.97), low sleep quantity (OR 2.00), depressive symptoms (OR 3.06) and anxiety symptoms (OR 2.93) were significantly related to an increase in total gambling activity during lockdown.

Discussion and conclusions

Although gambling substantially decreased during lockdown, time spent in gambling slightly increased. The strong relationship found between compromised mental health and addictive behaviors calls for urgent policies to prevent vulnerable populations from increasing and developing severe gambling addiction.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Josephine Savard, Tatja Hirvikoski, Katarina Görts Öberg, Cecilia Dhejne, Christoffer Rahm, and Jussi Jokinen

Abstract

Background and aims

Impulsivity is regarded as a risk factor for sexual crime reoffending, and a suggested core feature in Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder. The aim of this study was to explore clinical (e.g. neurodevelopmental disorders), behavioral and neurocognitive dimensions of impulsivity in disorders of problematic sexuality, and the possible correlation between sexual compulsivity and impulsivity.

Methods

Men with Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (n = 20), and Pedophilic Disorder (n = 55), enrolled in two separate drug trials in a specialized Swedish sexual medicine outpatient clinic, as well as healthy male controls (n = 57) were assessed with the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory (HBI) for sexual compulsivity, and with the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) and Connors’ Continuous Performance Test-II (CPT-II) for impulsivity. Psychiatric comorbidity information was extracted from interviews and patient case files.

Results

Approximately a quarter of the clinical groups had Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Both clinical groups reported more compulsive sexuality (r = 0.73−0.75) and attentional impulsivity (r = 0.36−0.38) than controls (P < 0.05). Based on results on univariate correlation analysis, BIS attentional score, ADHD, and Commissions T-score from CPT-II were entered in a multiple linear regression model, which accounted for 15% of the variance in HBI score (P < 0.0001). BIS attentional score was the only independent positive predictor of HBI (P = 0.001).

Discussion

Self-rated attentional impulsivity is an important associated factor of compulsive sexuality, even after controlling for ADHD. Psychiatric comorbidity and compulsive sexuality are common in Pedophilic Disorder.

Conclusion

Neurodevelopmental disorders and attentional impulsivity – including suitable interventions – should be further investigated in both disorders.

Open access