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Abstract

Background and aims

Behavioral addictions such as gambling and gaming disorder are significant public health issues that are of increasing importance to policy makers and health care providers. Problem gambling and gaming behaviors have been identified as being associated with externalizing and internalizing problems, with theoretical models suggesting that both conduct problems and depressive symptoms may be significant risk factors in the development of problem gambling and gaming. As such, the purpose of this systematic review is to provide an overview of research identifying the relationship between conduct problems, depressive symptoms and problem gambling and gaming among adolescents and young adults.

Methods

Systematic literature searches in accordance with PRISMA guidelines found 71 eligible studies that met the inclusion criteria, 47 for problem gambling, 23 for problem gaming and one for both problem behaviors.

Results

Based on cross-sectional evidence, both problem gambling and gaming are consistently concurrently associated with conduct problems and depressive symptoms. Longitudinal evidence appears to be clearer for conduct problems as a risk factor for problem gambling, and depressive symptoms as a risk factor for problem gaming. However, both risk factors appear to increase the risk for these problem behaviors.

Discussion and Conclusions

Results from the literature review suggest that problem gambling and gaming are associated with the presence of conduct problems and depressive symptoms, with the potential of sharing common etiological factors. Additional research is necessary to confirm these longitudinal relationships with an emphasis on investigating the interaction of both early conduct problems and depressive symptoms.

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