Traumatic life events (TLE) and difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) can be considered risk factors for the development of gambling disorder in adolescents and young adults.
The aim of the present study was to examine the differences in TLE, ER strategies, positive and negative affect, and gambling severity in a clinical sample of individuals undergoing treatment for gambling disorder (92.8% males; Mage = 24.83, SD = 3.80) and a healthy control group (52.4% males; Mage = 15.65, SD = 2.22). The relationship between the variables was assessed and the mediating role of ER in the relationship between TLE and gambling in the clinical sample was analysed.
The results showed higher scores in gambling severity, positive and negative affect, ER strategies and TLE in the clinical sample. In addition, the severity of gambling was positively correlated with TLE, negative affect and with rumination. TLE were also correlated positively with negative and positive affect, rumination ER strategies, plan focus, positive reinterpretation, and catastrophizing. Finally, rumination mediated the relationship between TLE and gambling severity.
These findings may have relevant implications for the prevention, understanding and treatment of gambling disorder.
COVID-19 resulted in the shutdown of almost all sporting competitions and most venue-based gambling opportunities. This study examines how wagering operators in Australia responded, by examining their advertising.
The study compared Twitter activity during lockdown (March–May 2020) to the previous year for four major wagering operators.
Wagering operators continued to advertise in earnest, changing their marketing mix to include more race betting content, as races continued to operate. Most also promoted the only sports available, such as table tennis or esports. When sports resumed, sports betting advertising quickly returned to normal, or exceeded previous levels. Despite more content being available in the case of two operators, engagement from the public during lockdown was similar to or lower than previously.
Discussion and conclusion
These results indicate that gambling operators can adjust quickly to major changes. These shifts appear to have been successful, with the increase in race betting during this period almost completely offsetting the decreases in sports betting. This is likely due in part to changes in advertising, which have been associated with increased betting activity, particularly amongst vulnerable people. Responsible gambling messages were virtually non-existent on Twitter, which contrasts with mandatory requirements in other media. The study highlights that regulatory changes to advertising, e.g., banning some content, are likely to be met with substitution of content, rather than reduction, unless advertising volume is also capped. The study also highlights the adaptive capacity of the gambling industry in the face of major disruption to supply.
Despite recent research linking lifetime classic psychedelic use to positive mental health outcomes, little work has explored the role played by classic psychedelics in healthy users' ability to cope with ordinary, yet stressful, life situations.
This study begins to fill this gap by exploring whether lifetime classic psychedelic use is associated with attenuated or exacerbated psychological distress in unemployed job seekers.
Drawing on openly-available data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2013–2019) on 208,136 adults in the United States, this study tests whether lifetime classic psychedelic use interacts with employment status to predict differences in respondents' psychological distress experienced in the last 30 days.
After adjusting for sociodemographics, health factors, and other substance use, unemployed job seekers with lifetime classic psychedelic use are found to report greater psychological distress relative to unemployed job seekers without lifetime psychedelic use. No differences in psychological distress based on lifetime classic psychedelic use were found in employed individuals.
This study suggests that lifetime classic psychedelic use (of indoleamines specifically) may exacerbate stressful phases of life and provides context to previous studies linking lifetime classic psychedelic use to predominantly positive mental health outcomes in healthy populations.
Declaration of interest/funding
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. Furthermore, the author declares that there is no conflict of interest.
Many new digital gambling-like activities such as loot boxes, esports betting, skin betting, and token wagering have recently emerged and grown in popularity. This scoping review aimed to: (a) synthesize the existing empirical research literature on gambling-like activities and their associations with gambling and video gaming behaviors, including problem gambling and video gaming; (b) identify sociodemographic, psychological, and motivational factors associated with engagement in gambling-like activities; and (c) identify research gaps and areas for further research.
A systematic search of Ovid, Embsco, and ProQuest databases and Google Scholar was conducted in May 2021 and last updated in February 2022. The search yielded a total of 2,437 articles. Articles were included in the review if they were empirical studies that contained quantitative or qualitative results regarding the relationship between gambling-like activities and gambling or gaming.
Thirty-eight articles met inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Overall, the review results suggest that all forms of gambling-like activities were positively associated with gambling and gaming with small to medium effects. Gambling-like activity participation was also positively associated with mental distress and impulsivity. Gaps identified included a lack of inquiry into skin betting and token wagering, a lack of diversity in the research methods (i.e., mainly cross-sectional surveys), and a paucity of research that includes more ethnically, culturally, and geographically diverse populations.
Longitudinal studies with more representative samples are needed to examine the causal link between gambling-like activities and gambling and video gaming.
For the first time, the ICD-11 provides the diagnosis compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) that can be assigned for pornography use disorder (PUD). This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of PUD and associated consequences in Germany, to identify the psychotherapy demand among likely PUD (lPUD) cases and the treatment supply in different psychotherapeutic settings, to survey psychotherapists' level of expertise regarding PUD, and to identify predictors for psychotherapy demand.
Four studies were conducted: 1. Online study in the general population (n = 2070; m = 48.9%, f = 50.8%, d = 0.2%), 2. Survey among practicing psychotherapists (n = 983), 3. Survey of psychotherapists in psychotherapeutic outpatient clinics (n = 185), 4. Interviews with psychotherapeutic inpatient clinics (n = 28).
The estimated prevalence of lPUD in the online study was 4.7% and men were 6.3 times more often affected than women. Compared to individuals without PUD, individuals with lPUD more often indicated negative consequences in performance-related areas. Among lPUD cases, 51.2% of men and 64.3% of women were interested in a specialized PUD treatment. Psychotherapists reported 1.2%–2.9% of lPUD cases among their patients. 43.2%–61.5% of psychotherapists stated to be poorly informed about PUD. Only 7% of psychotherapeutic inpatient clinics provided specific treatments to patients with PUD. While, among other factors, negative consequences attributed to lPUD were predictive for psychotherapy demand, weekly pornography consumption, subjective well-being, and religious attachment were not.
Discussion and conclusions
Although PUD occurs quite often in Germany, availability of mental health care services for PUD is poor. Specific PUD treatments are urgently needed.
Dysfunction of the striatum, a brain region part of the mesolimbic reward system, is a key characteristic of addictive disorders, but neuroimaging studies have reported conflicting findings. An integrative model of addiction points to the presence or absence of addiction-related cues as an explanation for hyper- or hypoactivation, respectively, of the striatum.
To test this model directly, we investigated striatal activation during monetary reward anticipation in the presence versus absence of addiction-related cues using functional MRI. Across two studies, we compared 46 alcohol use disorder (AUD) patients with 30 matched healthy controls; and 24 gambling disorder (GD) patients with 22 matched healthy controls.
During monetary reward anticipation, hypoactivation of the reward system was seen in AUD individuals compared to HCs. Additionally, a behavioral interaction was seen where gambling cues made participants, across groups, respond faster for bigger, but slower for smaller rewards. However, no striatal differences were seen in response to addiction-related cues between AUD or GD patients and their matched controls. Finally, despite substantial individual differences in neural activity to cue-reactivity and reward anticipation, these measures did not correlate, suggesting that they contribute independently to addiction aetiology.
Discussion and Conclusions
Our findings replicate previous findings of blunted striatal activity during monetary reward anticipation in alcohol use disorder but do not support the idea that addiction-related cues explain striatal dysfunction as suggested by the model.
Although numerous cultures have used psychoactive substances for spiritual, or entheogenic, purposes, little is known about contemporary entheogenic spirituality, particularly outside of the few traditions that retain sacramental drug use practices.
To better conceptualize contemporary patterns of entheogenic drug use, an international, online study of entheogenic drug users was conducted (n = 684). Hierarchical regression analysis was used to explore entheogenic drug use in relation to measures of spiritual seeking (importance of spirituality in life, mediation practice, openness to experience), self-transcendent experiences (awe-proneness, mystical experiences), psychological well-being (psychological distress, subjective and eudaimonic well-being), and psychospiritual development (quiet ego, self-transcendence/wisdom, and spiritual development). ANOVA was used to compare entheogenic drug users with non-entheogenic drug users and non-drug users to assess differences across these psychospiritual variables.
Of the 12 drug categories assessed, the classic psychedelics were most commonly used as entheogens. Entheogenic classic psychedelic use was associated with all of the assessed psychospiritual variables; entheogenic classic psychedelic users showed higher levels of spiritual seeking, self-transcendence, psychological well-being, and psychospiritual development compared to non-entheogenic classic psychedelic users and non-users.
Entheogenic spirituality may be conceptualized as a practice of spiritual seeking or implicit mysticism–the quest for self-transcendence and personal growth.
Background and aims. The popularity of playing games among adolescents has increased during the last decades, possibly affecting the prevalence of problematic gaming behavior. The current study aimed to compare country-level prevalence rates of adolescents' problematic gaming behavior in five countries and identify cross-cultural similarities and differences in the relationship between problematic gaming and well-being (life satisfaction, psychological complaints, and peer support). Methods. Cross-national data from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study were used. The sample comprised 14,398 gamers (61% boys) aged 11 to 16 (average age between 13.31 and 13.85) from Azerbaijan, England, Serbia, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. Results. The findings showed that the prevalence of problematic gaming differs between countries. The highest prevalence of problematic gaming was seen in Azerbaijan (16.1%) and the lowest in the Netherlands (4.3%). In contrast, Azerbaijan reported the lowest gaming intensity, whereas the Netherlands and England showed the highest gaming intensity. Additional analyses revealed that problematic gaming was associated with lower life satisfaction, more psychological complaints, and lower peer support in all countries, although the strength of these associations varied between countries. Discussion and conclusions. The current study's results are consistent with the assumption that problematic gaming negatively affects adolescents' social and mental well-being. These findings are further discussed in light of the normalization theory which suggests that cultural gaming norms (i.e., the percentage of gamers per country) would influence the strength of the relationship between problematic gaming and adolescents' well-being. The present findings highlight the need for adequate prevention strategies aiming at problematic gaming among youngsters.
The lockdown of sports and gambling venues during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a fear of increased gambling on other online gambling types, with a risk for transfer to more addictive gambling than otherwise. This study aimed to estimate changes in gambling activity during COVID-19-affected periods among all gamblers at a Swedish state-owned gambling operator and to analyse observable sex differences.
This study included gambling tracking data from the Swedish state-owned gambling operator Svenska Spel Sports & Casino (sports betting, online bingo, casino and poker). All individuals (n = 616,245) who gambled at least once from February 10 to July 19, 2020, were included. The study period was divided into four periods according to their expected level of COVID-19 impact on gambling opportunities: one pre-COVID period and three COVID-affected periods (sports cancellation, emerging return of sports, substantial return of sports).
Sports betting experienced an apparent decrease, followed by a gradual normalization and an end level substantially below prepandemic levels. For online bingo, gambling levels increased upon sports interruption and then decreased with the return to normality in sports events but remained higher than baseline levels. We observed a similar trend for online poker during the interruption of sports, but with a lower level than baseline levels when sports events normalized. We noticed a trend favouring online casinos during the sports interruption period regarding gambling intensity but not wagering levels.
Discussion and conclusions
Dramatic changes in the content of the gambling market may divert some gamblers to other gambling types, but maintained effects could not be demonstrated.
Whether occasioned through careful, consistent meditative practice or through quicker means like the ritual ingestion of psilocybin or ayahuasca, global contemplative practices have established effective systems of implementing, directing, and integrating the very kinds of non-ordinary experiences central to psychedelic use. However, contemplative traditions are largely absent from the present discourse on psychedelic therapy. This paper addresses this gap and offers a novel analysis of psychedelic-assisted therapy through the lens of the Tibetan Buddhist contemplative tradition. It first establishes a baseline for comparing the non-ordinary experience occasioned by Tibetan Buddhist meditation and the psychedelic experience by referencing the phenomenological literature of both. It then articulates the Tibetan contemplative framework of view, meditation, action (Tib. lta sgom spyod gsum) as the way Tibetan Buddhism directs its non-ordinary meditative experience towards its desired ends and suggests how this framework may be applied to psychedelic-assisted therapy. Finally, this paper uses this Tibetan Buddhist lens of analysis to compare and assess two protocols for psychedelic-assisted therapy and to make recommendations for future clinical protocols. Given the phenomenological similarity of Tibetan Buddhist meditative experience and the psychedelic experience, this article suggests that a more intensive preparatory session where maladaptive conceptual narratives are worked through and beneficial ones are introduced, repeated dosing sessions, and a more directed psychedelic experience may increase the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapy. It thus argues that the insights of the Tibetan framework of view, meditation, action can improve future protocols and allow for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be of even greater benefit.