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  • Author or Editor: Jin Kim x
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Background and aims

Gambling disorder (GD) shares many similarities with substance use disorders (SUDs) in clinical, neurobiological, and neurocognitive features, including decision-making. We evaluated the relationships among, GD, decision-making, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as measured by serum BDNF levels.


Twenty-one male patients with GD and 21 healthy sex- and age-matched control subjects were evaluated for associations between serum BDNF levels and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), as well as between serum BDNF levels and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) indices.


The mean serum BDNF levels were significantly increased in patients with GD compared to healthy controls. A significant correlation between serum BDNF levels and PGSI scores was found when controlling for age, depression, and duration of GD. A significant negative correlation was obtained between serum BDNF levels and IGT improvement scores.


These findings support the hypothesis that serum BDNF levels constitute a dual biomarker for the neuroendocrine changes and the severity of GD in patients. Serum BDNF level may serve as an indicator of poor decision-making performance and learning processes in GD and help to identify the common physiological underpinnings between GD and SUDs.

Open access



We examined serial mediating roles of low self-control and aggression in explaining relationships between levels of inattention and hyperactivity problems (IHPs) and severity of Internet gaming disorder (IGD) features when exposed to online games among adolescents without Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stratified by gender using three-wave longitudinal study.


The sample comprised a total of 1,732 family dyads from a study that was conducted among seventh graders without diagnoses of ADHD at baseline. Levels of IHPs were assessed by the parent reported Korean version of the ADHD rating scale at baseline (wave1). Severity of IGD features was assessed by the Internet Game Use-Elicited Symptom Screen (IGUESS) at wave3. Both levels of self-control (wave1) and aggression (wave2) were assessed by self-report. The mediating role of low self-control and aggression in the relationships between level of IHPs and severity of IGD were evaluated using serial mediation analysis separately for each gender.


Levels of IHPs were related directly to severity of IGD features in both genders. The indirect effects via low self-control were also significant in both genders, however, the indirect effects via aggression was significant only in women. The serial mediation effect via low self-control and aggression between levels of IHPs and IGD features was significant in both genders (men, coefficient:0.009, 95%CI 0.005–0.019; women, coefficient:0.010, 95%CI:0.005–0.026).


We revealed a possible mechanism underlying a serial mediation chain from low self-control to aggression explaining the effects of IHPs on severity of IGD features. However, this conclusion should be taken with a caution, because the effect sizes were very low.

Open access