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Abstract

Background and aims

Attentional bias is a key factor in addictive behavior maintenance. However, whether attentional bias has a similar effect on cybersex addiction is unclear. We investigated differences in the attentional processing of sexually explicit images between individuals with high tendencies toward cybersex addiction (TCA) versus low tendencies using behavioral and electrophysiological indices.

Methods

Twenty-eight individuals with high TCA and 29 with low TCA performed an addiction Stroop task comprising sexual and neutral images in colored frames. Participants were asked to respond to the frame color and not the image contents, and behavioral and event-related potentials were recorded.

Results

Behaviorally, an addiction Stroop interference effect was found in the high TCA group, as shown by the longer reaction times to judge the frame colors of sexual images. Electrophysiologically, a P200 (150–220 ms) enhancement was present in response to sexual images compared with neutral ones, which was absent in the low TCA group. The event-related potential correlates with the addiction Stroop interference effect, indicating that the attentional bias underlying the addiction Stroop interference operates at an automatic level. A general, sexually related bias was found in the late positive potential (300–700 ms) amplitude, although between-group differences were insignificant.

Discussion and conclusions

These findings indicate that sexual stimuli grab the attentional resources of individuals with high TCA at early automatic stages of attentional processing. Increased cue reactivity to sexual stimuli may contribute to pornographic consumption and play a crucial role in sustaining problematic excessive use of online pornography.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Stress is a common experience among college students with problematic Internet use, and it may exacerbate their cue-induced Internet craving. This study aimed to examine the influence of stress on cue-induced craving for the Internet among subjects with problematic Internet use and the buffering effect of mindfulness.

Methods

Sixty-eight college students with problematic Internet use were assigned to groups with a 2 (stress vs. no-stress) × 2 (high vs. low mindfulness) between-subject design.

Results

It was deduced that stress could significantly enhance cue-induced craving for the Internet, and mindfulness could buffer this effect. Specifically, the effect of stress on cue-induced craving for the Internet was weaker among subjects with high mindfulness as compared to subjects with low mindfulness.

Discussion and Conclusions

These findings contribute to understanding of the factors influencing problematic Internet use and how such factors interact. It also provides recommendations on how to prevent the progression of problematic Internet use and suggests possible interventions.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Internet Use Disorders (IUD) cover a range of online-related behavioral addictions, which are acknowledged and strengthened by the inclusion of (online) gaming disorder in the ICD-11 by the World Health Organization. Internet-based telemedicine interventions offer the possibility to reach out for individuals with IUD where the disorder emerges, in order to enhance their motivation to change their Internet use behavior.

Methods

In the course of the short-term telemedicine motivation-based intervention, adult participants took part in two webcam-based counselling sessions based on Motivational Interviewing techniques. Two weeks after the first webcam-based counselling session the second took place. Participants completed questionnaires regarding the motivation to change their Internet use behavior (iSOCRATES) and symptoms of IUD (s-IAT) at three times of measurement: t0 (pre-intervention), t1 (mid-intervention) and t2 (post-intervention).

Results

73 affected individuals (83.6% male, average age 35 years (SD = 12.49) took part in the whole intervention including the questionnaire-based post intervention survey (t2). Over the course of the telemedicine intervention, a significant increase in the motivation to change with regard to the own Internet use behavior as well as a significant reduction in the symptom severity of an IUD and duration of Internet use (reduction of 2 hrs/d) were shown.

Conclusion

The telemedicine pilot study shows that online-based consultation can be effective and helpful for individuals with IUD. Therefore, such a telemedicine intervention may be a suitable extension to the already existing analogous care system.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The convergence of gaming and gambling may pose a risk for adolescents. Thus, it is important to find out how these behaviours are associated with other addictive behaviours in order to develop efficient preventive measures for youth. The aim of this study was to examine 1) whether problematic gaming and money used for gaming activities are risk factors for gambling, and 2) what kind of impact adolescents’ substance use along with other factors related to friends and parents have on this association.

Methods

The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs data, 2019 of Finnish adolescents aged 15 to 16 (N = 4595). Cross-tabulations with Rao-Scott’s chisquare tests were applied to study the associations of the background factors with gambling in the past 12 months. A multinomial logistic regression model was fitted for the outcome variable (gambling in the past 12 months) adjusted for all independent and background variables.

Results

Problematic gaming alone was not associated with gambling participation, whereas using money for digital games increased the risk of gambling. Boys gamble more than girls. The use of alcohol and drugs increased the risk of gambling. Parental monitoring reduced the risk of gambling, whereas hanging around weekly with friends increased the risk.

Discussion and conclusions

Using money on gaming sites may put some adolescents at risk of developing problems with either gaming or gambling. The link between using money in digital games and gambling participation calls for preventive measures, intervention and regulatory acts.

Open access

Abstract

Background and Aims

Excessive time and money spent on gambling can result in harms, not only to people experiencing a gambling problem but also to their close family and friends (“concerned significant others”; CSOs). The current study aimed to explore whether, and to what extent, CSOs experience decrements to their wellbeing due to another person’s gambling.

Methods

We analysed data from The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA; N = 19,064) and the Canadian Quinte Longitudinal Study (QLS; N = 3,904). Participants either self-identified as CSOs (QLS) or were identified by living in a household with a person classified in the problem gambling category by the PGSI (HILDA). Subjective well-being was measured using the Personal Wellbeing Index and single-item questions on happiness and satisfaction with life.

Results

CSOs reported lower subjective wellbeing than non-CSOs across both countries and on all three wellbeing measures. CSO status remained a significant predictor of lower wellbeing after controlling for demographic and socio-economic factors, and own-gambling problems. There were no significant differences across various relationships to the gambler, by gender, or between household and non-household CSOs.

Discussion and Conclusions

Gambling-related harms experienced by CSOs was reliably associated with a decrease in wellbeing. This decrement to CSO’s wellbeing was not as strong as that experienced by the person with the first-order gambling problem. Nevertheless, wellbeing decrements to CSOs are not limited to those living with a person with gambling problems in the household and thus affect many people.

Open access

Abstract

Background & aims

Special Operations Forces Veterans (SOFV) have unique treatment needs stemming from multiple repeated forms of combat exposure resulting in a complex sequela of problems including alcohol misuse and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Current approved pharmacologic treatments for alcohol misuse and PTSD are lacking in adherence and efficacy, warranting novel treatment development. The current study examined the correlations between psychedelic treatment and changes in alcohol misuse among trauma exposed United States SOFV.

Method

An anonymous internet-based survey was conducted among SOFV who completed a specific psychedelic clinical program in Mexico. Retrospective questions probed alcohol use and post-traumatic stress symptoms during the 30-days before and 30-days after the psychedelic treatment. A total of 65 SOFV completed treatment and were eligible for contact. Of these, 51 (78%) completed the survey, and 27 (42%) reported alcohol misuse (≥4 on the AUDIT-C) in the 30 days prior to treatment and were included in analyses (Mean Age = 40; male = 96%; Caucasian/White = 96%).

Results

There were significant and very large reductions in retrospective reports of alcohol use (P < 0.001; d = –2.4) and post-traumatic stress symptoms (P < 0.001; d = –2.8) and a significant and large increase in psychological flexibility (P < 0.001; d = –1.8), from before-to-after the psychedelic treatment. In the 30 days after treatment, 85% reduced their alcohol consumption to non-risky levels (33% abstinent; 52% non-risky drinking). Increases in psychological flexibility were strongly associated with reductions in alcohol use and post-traumatic stress symptoms (rs range 0.38–0.90; ps < 0.05).

Conclusion

Rigorous longitudinal studies should be conducted to determine whether psychedelic-assisted therapy holds promise as an intervention in this population.

Open access

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