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Background and aims

The phenomenon of Internet pornography (IP) addiction is gainingincreasing attention in the popular media and psychological research.What has not been tested empirically is how frequency and amount ofIP use, along with other individual characteristics, are related tosymptoms of IP addiction.

Methods

105 female and 86 male university students (mean age 21) from Calgary,Canada, were administered measures of IP use, psychosocial functioning(anxiety and depression, life and relationship satisfaction), addictivepropensities, and addictive IP use.

Results

Men reported earlier age of exposure and more frequent currentIP use than women. Individuals not in relationships reported morefrequent use than those in relationships. Frequency of IP use wasnot generally correlated with psychosocial functioning but was significantlypositively correlated with level of IP addiction. Higher level ofIP addiction was associated with poorer psychosocial functioning andproblematic alcohol, cannabis, gambling and, in particular, videogame use. A curvilinear association was found between frequency ofIP use and level of addiction such that daily or greater IP use wasassociated with a sharp rise in addictive IP scores.

Discussion

The failure to find a strong significant relationship between IPuse and general psychosocial functioning suggests that the overalleffect of IP use is not necessarily harmful in and of itself. Addictiveuse of IP, which is associated with poorer psychosocial functioning,emerges when people begin to use IP daily.

Open access

Personal choice is a nuanced concept – Lessons learned from the gambling field. •

Commentary on: Problematic risk-taking involving emerging technologies: A Stakeholder framework to minimize harms (Swanton et al., 2019)

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Author: David C. Hodgins

Abstract

This thoughtful framework to minimize the harm associated with emerging technologies by encouraging collaborations among stakeholders would benefit from adopting the WHO precautionary principle in order to keep public health issues at the core of discussions. It would also be helpful to acknowledge and make transparent the differences in stakeholder priorities, the power differentials among stakeholders, and the importance of institutional duty of care.

Open access

Background and aims

The aims of this study were (a) to describe the prevalence of single versus multiple addiction problems in a large representative sample and (b) to identify distinct subgroups of people experiencing substance-related and behavioral addiction problems.

Methods

A random sample of 6,000 respondents from Alberta, Canada, completed survey items assessing self-attributed problems experienced in the past year with four substances (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine) and six behaviors (gambling, eating, shopping, sex, video gaming, and work). Hierarchical cluster analyses were used to classify patterns of co-occurring addiction problems on an analytic subsample of 2,728 respondents (1,696 women and 1032 men; M age = 45.1 years, SD age = 13.5 years) who reported problems with one or more of the addictive behaviors in the previous year.

Results

In the total sample, 49.2% of the respondents reported zero, 29.8% reported one, 13.1% reported two, and 7.9% reported three or more addiction problems in the previous year. Cluster-analytic results suggested a 7-group solution. Members of most clusters were characterized by multiple addiction problems; the average number of past year addictive behaviors in cluster members ranged between 1 (Cluster II: excessive eating only) and 2.5 (Cluster VII: excessive video game playing with the frequent co-occurrence of smoking, excessive eating and work).

Discussion and conclusions

Our findings replicate previous results indicating that about half of the adult population struggles with at least one excessive behavior in a given year; however, our analyses revealed a higher number of co-occurring addiction clusters than typically found in previous studies.

Open access

Background and aims

To date, no research has examined the viability of using behavioral tasks typical of cognitive and neuropsychology within addiction populations through online recruitment methods. Therefore, we examined the reliability and validity of three behavioral tasks of impulsivity common in addiction research in a sample of individuals with a current or past history of problem gambling recruited online.

Methods

Using a two-stage recruitment process, a final sample of 110 participants with a history of problem or disordered gambling were recruited through MTurk and completed self-report questionnaires of gambling involvement symptomology, a Delay Discounting Task (DDT), Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), Cued Go/No-Go Task, and the UPPS-P.

Results

Participants demonstrated logically consistent responding on the DDT. The area under the empirical discounting curve (AUC) ranged from 0.02 to 0.88 (M = 0.23). The BART demonstrated good split-third reliability (ρs = 0.67 to 0.78). The tasks generally showed small correlations with each other (ρs = ±0.06 to 0.19) and with UPPS-P subscales (ρs = ±0.01 to 0.20).

Discussion and conclusions

The behavioral tasks demonstrated good divergent validity. Correlation magnitudes between behavioral tasks and UPPS-P scales and mean scores on these measures were generally consistent with the existing literature. Behavioral tasks of impulsivity appear to have utility for use with problem and disordered gambling samples collected online, allowing researchers a cost efficient and rapid avenue for conducting behavioral research with gamblers. We conclude with best-practice recommendations for using behavioral tasks using crowdsourcing samples.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The Brief Screener for Substance and Behavioral Addictions (SSBAs) was developed to assess a common addiction construct across four substances (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine), and six behaviors (gambling, shopping, videogaming, eating, sexual activity, and working) using a lay epidemiology perspective. This paper extends our previous work by examining the predictive utility of the SSBA to identify self-attributed addiction problems.

Method

Participants (N = 6,000) were recruited in Canada using quota sampling methods. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROCs) analyses were conducted, and thresholds established for each target behavior's subscale to predict self-attributed problems with these substances and behaviors. For each substance and behavior, regression models compared overall classification accuracy and model fit when lay epidemiologic indicators assessed using the SSBA were compared with validated screening measures to predict selfattributed problems.

Results

ROC analyses indicted moderate to high diagnostic accuracy (Area under the curves (AUCs) 0.73–0.94) across SSBA subscales. Thresholds for identifying self-attributed problems were 3 for six of the subscales (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, shopping, and gaming), and 2 for the remaining four behaviors (gambling, eating, sexual activity, and working). Compared to other instruments assessing addiction problems, models using the SSBA provided equivalent or better model fit, and overall had higher classification accuracy in the prediction of self-attributed problems.

Discussion and conclusions

The SSBA is a viable screening tool for problematic engagement across ten potentially addictive behaviors. Where longer screening tools are not appropriate, the SSBA may be used to identify individuals who would benefit from further assessment.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The Brief Screener for Substance and Behavioral Addictions (SSBAs) was developed to assess a common addiction construct across four substances (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine), and six behaviors (gambling, shopping, videogaming, eating, sexual activity, and working) using a lay epidemiology perspective. This paper extends our previous work by examining the predictive utility of the SSBA to identify self-attributed addiction problems.

Method

Participants (N = 6,000) were recruited in Canada using quota sampling methods. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROCs) analyses were conducted, and thresholds established for each target behavior's subscale to predict self-attributed problems with these substances and behaviors. For each substance and behavior, regression models compared overall classification accuracy and model fit when lay epidemiologic indicators assessed using the SSBA were compared with validated screening measures to predict selfattributed problems.

Results

ROC analyses indicted moderate to high diagnostic accuracy (Area under the curves (AUCs) 0.73–0.94) across SSBA subscales. Thresholds for identifying self-attributed problems were 3 for six of the subscales (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, shopping, and gaming), and 2 for the remaining four behaviors (gambling, eating, sexual activity, and working). Compared to other instruments assessing addiction problems, models using the SSBA provided equivalent or better model fit, and overall had higher classification accuracy in the prediction of self-attributed problems.

Discussion and conclusions

The SSBA is a viable screening tool for problematic engagement across ten potentially addictive behaviors. Where longer screening tools are not appropriate, the SSBA may be used to identify individuals who would benefit from further assessment.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Simone Rodda, Stephanie S. Merkouris, Charles Abraham, David C. Hodgins, Sean Cowlishaw, and Nicki A. Dowling

Background and aims

To date, no systematic approach to identifying the content and characteristics of psychological interventions used to reduce gambling or problem gambling has been developed. This study aimed to develop a reliable classification system capable of identifying intervention characteristics that could, potentially, account for greater or lesser effectiveness.

Methods

Intervention descriptions were content analyzed to identify common and differentiating characteristics. A coder manual was developed and applied by three independent coders to identify the presence or absence of defined characteristics in 46 psychological and self-help gambling interventions.

Results

The final classification taxonomy, entitled Gambling Intervention System of CharacTerization (GIST), included 35 categories of intervention characteristics. These were assigned to four groups: (a) types of change techniques (18 categories; e.g., cognitive restructuring and relapse prevention), (b) participant and study characteristics (6 categories; e.g., recruitment strategy and remuneration policy), and (c) characteristics of the delivery and conduct of interventions (11 categories; e.g., modality of delivery and therapist involvement), and (d) evaluation characteristics (e.g., type of control group). Interrater reliability of identification of defined characteristics was high (κ = 0.80–1.00).

Discussion

This research provides a tool that allows systematic identification of intervention characteristics, thereby enabling consideration, not only of whether interventions are effective or not, but also of which domain-relevant characteristics account for greater or lesser effectiveness. The taxonomy also facilitates standardized description of intervention content in a field in which many diverse interventions have been evaluated.

Conclusion

Application of this coding tool has the potential to accelerate the development of more efficient and effective therapist-delivered and self-directed interventions to reduce gambling problems.

Open access

Background and aims

In the present research, we experimentally investigated whether the experience of winning (i.e., inflated payout rates) in a social casino game influenced social casino gamers’ subsequent decision to gamble for money. Furthermore, we assessed whether facets of dispositional impulsivity – negative and positive urgency in particular – also influenced participants’ subsequent gambling.

Methods

Social casino gamers who were also current gamblers (N = 318) were asked to play a social casino game to assess their perceptions of the game in exchange for $3. Unbeknownst to them, players were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: winning (n = 110), break-even (n = 103), or losing (n = 105). After playing, participants were offered a chance to gamble their $3 renumeration in an online roulette game.

Results

A total of 280 participants (88.1%) elected to gamble, but no between-condition variation in the decision to gamble emerged. Furthermore, there were no differences in gambling on the online roulette between condition. However, higher levels of both negative and positive urgency increased the likelihood of gambling. Finally, impulsivity did not moderate the relationship between experience of winning and decision to gamble.

Conclusion

The results suggest that dispositional factors, including impulsive urgency, are implicated in the choice to gamble for social casino gamers following play.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Megan E. Cowie, Hyoun S. Kim, David C. Hodgins, Daniel S. McGrath, Marco D. T. Scanavino, and Hermano Tavares

Background and aims

Gambling disorder (GD) and compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) may commonly co-occur. Yet, the psychiatric correlates of these co-occurring disorders are an untapped area of empirical scrutiny, limiting our understanding of appropriate treatment modalities for this dual-diagnosed population. This study examined the demographic and clinical correlates of CSB in a sample of treatment-seeking individuals with GD (N = 368) in São Paulo, Brazil.

Methods

Psychiatrists and psychologists conducted semi-structured clinical interviews to identify rates of CSB and other comorbid psychiatric disorders. The Shorter PROMIS Questionnaire was administered to assess additional addictive behaviors. The TCI and BIS-11 were used to assess facets of personality. Demographic and gambling variables were also assessed.

Results

Of the total sample, 24 (6.5%) met diagnostic criteria for comorbid CSB (GD + CSB). Compared to those without compulsive sexual behaviors (GD − CSB), individuals with GD + CSB were more likely to be younger and male. No differences in gambling involvement emerged. Individuals with GD + CSB tended to have higher rates of psychiatric disorders (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bulimia nervosa) and engage in more addictive behaviors (problematic alcohol use, drug use, and exercise) compared to GD − CSB. Those with GD + CSB evidenced less self-directedness, cooperativeness, self-transcendence, and greater motor impulsivity. Logistic regression showed that the predictors of GD + CSB, which remained in the final model, were being male, a diagnosis of bulimia, greater gambling severity, and less self-transcendence.

Discussion and conclusion

Given those with GD + CSB evidence greater psychopathology, greater attention should be allocated to this often under studied comorbid condition to ensure adequate treatment opportunities.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Margo Hilbrecht, David Baxter, Max Abbott, Per Binde, Luke Clark, David C. Hodgins, Darrel Manitowabi, Lena Quilty, Jessika SpÅngberg, Rachel Volberg, Douglas Walker, and Robert J. Williams

Abstract

Background and aims

The Conceptual Framework of Harmful Gambling moves beyond a symptoms-based view of harm and addresses a broad set of factors related to the risks and effects of gambling harmfully at the individual, family, and community levels. Coauthored by international research experts and informed by multiple stakeholders, Gambling Research Exchange (GREO) facilitated the framework development in 2013 and retains responsibility for regular updates and mobilization. This review article presents information about the revised version of the Conceptual Framework of Harmful Gambling completed in late 2018.

Methods

We describe eight interrelated factors depicted in the framework that represent major themes in gambling ranging from the specific (gambling environment, exposure, gambling types, and treatment resources) to the general (cultural, social, psychological, and biological influences). After outlining the framework development and collaborative process, we highlight new topics for the recent update that reflect changes in the gambling landscape and prominent discourses in the scientific community. Some of these topics include social and economic impacts of gambling, and a new model of understanding gambling related harm.

Discussion and conclusions

We address the relevance of the CFHG to the gambling and behavioral addictions research community. Harm-based frameworks have been undertaken in other areas of addiction that can both inform and be informed by a model dedicated to harmful gambling. Further, the framework brings a multi-disciplinary perspective to bear on antecedents and factors that co-occur with harmful gambling.

Open access