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Background

Over the past two decades, problem gambling has become a public health issue and research from many countries indicates that a small but significant minority of individuals are problem gamblers. In Norway, the prevalence of problem gambling among adults is estimated to be just less than 1%. To help minimize the harm from gambling, the Norwegian government’s gambling operator (Norsk Tipping) has introduced several responsible gambling initiatives to help protect players from developing gambling problems (e.g., limit-setting tools, voluntary self-exclusion, personalized feedback, etc.).

Aim

The aim of this study was to determine whether the receiving of personalized feedback exceeding 80% of a personally set monetary personal limit had an effect on subsequent playing behavior compared to those gamblers who did not receive personalized feedback.

Methods

Out of 54,002 players, a total of 7,884 players (14.5%) received at least one piece of feedback that they had exceeded 80% of their personal global monthly loss limit between January and March 2017.

Results

Using a matched-pairs design, results showed that those gamblers receiving personalized feedback in relation to limit-setting showed significant reductions in the amount of money gambled.

Conclusion

The findings of this study will be of great value to many stakeholder groups including researchers in the gambling studies field, the gambling industry, regulators, and policymakers.

Open access

Background

Smartphone use has increased greatly at a time when concerns about society’s disconnection from nature have also markedly increased. Recent research has also indicated that smartphone use can be problematic for a small minority of individuals.

Methods

In this study, associations between problematic smartphone use (PSU), nature connectedness, and anxiety were investigated using a cross-sectional design (n = 244).

Results

Associations between PSU and both nature connectedness and anxiety were confirmed. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to identify threshold values on the Problematic Smartphone Use Scale (PSUS) at which strong associations with anxiety and nature connectedness occur. The area under the curve was calculated and positive likelihood ratios used as a diagnostic parameter to identify optimal cut-off for PSU. These provided good diagnostic ability for nature connectedness, but poor and non-significant results for anxiety. ROC analysis showed the optimal PSUS threshold for high nature connectedness to be 15.5 (sensitivity: 58.3%; specificity: 78.6%) in response to an LR+ of 2.88.

Conclusions

The results demonstrate the potential utility for the PSUS as a diagnostic tool, with a level of smartphone use that users may perceive as non-problematic being a significant cut-off in terms of achieving beneficial levels of nature connectedness. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Open access

Background and aims

Responsible gambling (RG) tools and initiatives have been introduced by social RG operators as a means to help prevent problem gambling. One such initiative is the use of mandatory play breaks (i.e., forced session terminations). Recommendations by RG experts for gambling operators to implement mandatory play breaks appear to be intuitively sensible but are not evidence-based.

Methods

The present authors were given access by the Norwegian gambling operator Norsk Tipping to data from 7,190 video lottery terminal (VLT) players who gambled between January and March 2018. This generated 218,523 playing sessions for further analysis. Once a gambling session reaches a 1-hr play duration, a forced session termination of 90 s comes into effect. This study evaluated the effect of mandatory play breaks on subsequent gambling.

Results

Compared to similar sessions identified using a matched-pairs design, results demonstrated that there was no significant effect of the forced termination regarding the amount of money staked in the subsequent gambling session or on the time duration of the subsequent gambling session.

Conclusions

Although expenditure was higher in the subsequent 24 hr for terminated sessions, this is likely due to higher intensity gamblers being more likely to trigger mandatory breaks. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Open access

Background and aims

Recent research suggests that youth problem gambling is associated with several factors, but little is known how these factors might influence or interact each other in predicting this behavior. Consequently, this is the first study to examine the mediation effect of coping styles in the relationship between attachment to parental figures and problem gambling.

Methods

A total of 988 adolescents and emerging adults were recruited to participate. The first set of analyses tested the adequacy of a model comprising biological, cognitive, and family variables in predicting youth problem gambling. The second set of analyses explored the relationship between family and individual variables in problem gambling behavior.

Results

The results of the first set of analyses demonstrated that the individual factors of gender, cognitive distortions, and coping styles showed a significant predictive effect on youth problematic gambling, and the family factors of attachment and family structure did not reveal a significant influence on this behavior. The results of the second set of analyses demonstrated that the attachment dimension of angry distress exerted a more indirect influence on problematic gambling, through emotion-focused coping style.

Discussion

This study revealed that some family variables can have a more indirect effect on youth gambling behavior and provided some insights in how some factors interact in predicting problem gambling.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that youth gambling is a multifaceted phenomenon, and that the indirect effects of family variables are important in estimating the complex social forces that might influence adolescent decisions to gamble.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Dr. Mark D. Griffiths
and
Attila Szabo PhD

Abstract

Aims

The purpose of the study was to seek a better insight into whether the online medium or the online activity was more important in relation to excessive online use. It is not clear whether those people who spend excessive amounts of time on the Internet are engaged in general Internet or whether excessive Internet use is linked to specific activities.

Methods

Perceived changes in Internet use habits as function of hypothetical accessibility of favorite sites were investigated in young adults. University students (n = 130, mean age = 20.6 years) who had (on average) spent over 20 hours a week on the Internet for at least nine years completed a survey. The most favored online activities and expected quality of life without Internet access were also investigated.

Results

Findings revealed that social networking was by far the most popular online activity, and that lack of access to their preferred online activities would drop by 65% (as measured by perceived Internet usage). Approximately one in six participants (16%) claimed they would not even switch on the computer if access to their favorite online activities were unavailable. In relation to a hypothetical question about the quality of life without Internet access, the responses were normally distributed (rather than skewed).

Conclusions

These results show that time spent with Internet activity is not random and/or generalized, but appears more focused. Attraction or addiction on Internet to one or more specific behavior(s) may be a better way forward in the quest for better understanding excessive human behavior in the online environment.

Open access

Background

Over the last 20 years, behavioral addictions (e.g., addictions to gambling, playing video games, work, etc.) have become more accepted among both public and scientific communities. Addiction to sex is arguably a more controversial issue, but this does not take away from the fact that some individuals seek professional help for problematic excessive sex, irrespective of how the behavior is conceptualized. Empirical evidence suggests that among treatment seekers, men are more likely than women to seek help for sex addiction (SA).

Methods

Using the behavioral addiction literature and the authors’ own expertise in researching female SA, this paper examines potential barriers to the treatment for female sex addicts.

Results

Four main types of barriers for female sex addicts not seeking treatment were identified. These comprised (a) individual barriers, (b) social barriers, (c) research barriers, and (d) treatment barriers.

Conclusions

Further research is needed to either confirm or disconfirm the identified barriers that female sex addicts face when seeking treatment, and if conformation is found, interested stakeholders should provide better awareness and/or see ways in which such barriers can be overcome to aid better uptake of SA services.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims: Research suggests that excessive online gaming may lead to symptoms commonly experienced by substance addicts. Since games are particularly appealing to children and adolescents, these individuals may be more at risk than other groups of developing gaming addiction. Methods: Given these potential concerns, a literature review was undertaken in order (i) to present the classification basis of online gaming addiction using official mental disorder frameworks, (ii) to identify empirical studies that assess online gaming addiction in children and adolescents, and (iii) to present and evaluate the findings against the background of related and established mental disorder criteria. Results: Empirical evidence comprising 30 studies indicates that for some adolescents, gaming addiction exists and that as the addiction develops, online gaming addicts spend increasing amounts of time preparing for, organizing, and actually gaming. Conclusions: Evidence suggests that problematic online gaming can be conceptualized as a behavioral addiction rather than a disorder of impulse control.

Open access

Background and aims

Over the last decade, worldwide smartphone usage has greatly increased. Alongside this growth, research on the influence of smartphones on human behavior has also increased. However, a growing number of studies have shown that excessive use of smartphones can lead to detrimental consequences in a minority of individuals. This study examines the psychological aspects of smartphone use particularly in relation to problematic use, narcissism, anxiety, and personality factors.

Methods

A sample of 640 smartphone users ranging from 13 to 69 years of age (mean = 24.89 years, SD = 8.54) provided complete responses to an online survey including modified DSM-5 criteria of Internet Gaming Disorder to assess problematic smartphone use, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, and the Ten-Item Personality Inventory.

Results

The results demonstrated significant relationships between problematic smartphone use and anxiety, conscientiousness, openness, emotional stability, the amount of time spent on smartphones, and age. The results also demonstrated that conscientiousness, emotional stability, and age were independent predictors of problematic smartphone use.

Conclusion

The findings demonstrate that problematic smartphone use is associated with various personality factors and contributes to further understanding the psychology of smartphone behavior and associations with excessive use of smartphones.

Open access

Abstract

Purpose

Despite increasing empirical research into workaholism, no single definition or conceptualisation has emerged, and current understandings of workaholism are arguably problematic. The primary purpose of this paper is to clarify some of these issues, by defining and contextualising over-engagement in work that leads to severe negative consequences (i.e., workaholism) as a genuine behavioural addiction.

Approach

By conceptualising work behaviours as manifestations of behavioural engagement and placing them on a continuum from withdrawal/under-engagement (e.g., persistent absenteeism) to over-engagement (e.g., work conflicting with all other activity), this paper argues that workaholism is an extreme negative aspect of behavioural engagement. It then examines the extent to which workaholism can be viewed as a genuine addiction by using criteria applied to other more traditional behavioural addictions (e.g., gambling addiction, exercise addiction), before briefly outlining an approach towards a more global understanding of workaholism.

Findings

The framework presented here helps to contextualise over-engagement to work as a genuine addiction. It presents more comprehensive understanding of workaholism that takes into account the individual factors of the employee, situational factors of the working environment, and structural factors of the work activity itself. It provides theoretically derived links between workaholism and other work behaviours that can be empirically demonstrated.

Practical implications

Viewing workaholism as an addiction that comprises extreme and prolonged behavioural over-engagement can be invaluable for promoting healthy work engagement. A clearer understanding of the underpinnings of workaholism can allow for a better assessment and management by practitioners.

Originality/value

This paper is one the first to contextualise workaholism in relation to other work behaviours, conceptualise it as a genuine behavioural addiction, and to apply clinical criteria for addiction to understand workaholism as prolonged and extreme behavioural engagement.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Research into Internet addiction (IA) has increased greatly over the last decade. Despite its various definitions and general lack of consensus regarding its conceptualisation amongst researchers, instruments for measuring this phenomenon have proliferated in a number of countries. There has been little research on IA in Portugal and this may be partly due to the absence of standardised measurement tools for assessing IA.

Methods

This study attempted to address this issue by adapting a Portuguese version of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) via a translation-back translation process and Confirmatory Factor Analysis in a sample of 593 Portuguese students that completed a Portuguese version of the IAT along with questions related to socio-demographic variables.

Results

The findings suggested that the IAT appears to be a valid and reliable instrument for measuring IA among Portuguese young adults as demonstrated by its satisfactory psychometric properties. However, the present findings also suggest the need to reword and update some of the IAT's items. Prevalence of IA found in the sample was 1.2% and is discussed alongside findings relating to socio-demographic correlates. Limitations and implications of the present study are also discussed.

Conclusions

The present study calls for a reflection of the IAT while also contributing to a better understanding of the basic aspects of IA in the Portuguese community since many health practitioners are starting to realise that Internet use may pose a risk for some individuals.

Open access