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Abstract

Background and aims

Online gambling participation is increasing rapidly, with relatively little research about the possible effects of different gambling activities on problem gambling behaviour. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine the participation in online gambling activities and the relationship with problem gambling among an international sample of online gamblers.

Methods

An online gambling survey was posted on 32 international gambling websites and resulted in 1,119 respondents over a four-month period.

Results

Poker was the most popular gambling activity online. A number of online activities were associated with problem gambling, including: roulette, poker, horse race betting, sports betting, spread betting and fruit (slot) machines. Not surprisingly, those that gambled on these activities regularly (except poker) were more likely to be a problem gambler, however, what is interesting is that the reverse is true for poker players; those that gambled regularly on poker were less likely to be a problem gambler compared to the non-regular poker players. The majority of the players also gambled offline, but there was no relationship between problem gambling and whether or not a person also gambled offline.

Discussion

Problem gambling is associated more with certain online gambling activities than others, and those gambling on two or more activities online were more likely to be a problem gambler.

Conclusion

This paper can help explain the impact different online gambling activities may have on gambling behaviour. Consideration needs to be given to the gambling activity when developing and implementing treatment programmes.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Antonius J. van Rooij PhD, Daria J. Kuss, Mark D. Griffiths, Gillian W. Shorter, Tim M. Schoenmakers and Dike van de Mheen

Abstract

Aims

The current study explored the nature of problematic (addictive) video gaming (PVG) and the association with game type, psychosocial health, and substance use.

Methods

Data were collected using a paper and pencil survey in the classroom setting. Three samples were aggregated to achieve a total sample of 8478 unique adolescents. Scales included measures of game use, game type, the Video game Addiction Test (VAT), depressive mood, negative self-esteem, loneliness, social anxiety, education performance, and use of cannabis, alcohol and nicotine (smoking).

Results

Findings confirmed problematic gaming is most common amongst adolescent gamers who play multiplayer online games. Boys (60%) were more likely to play online games than girls (14%) and problematic gamers were more likely to be boys (5%) than girls (1%). High problematic gamers showed higher scores on depressive mood, loneliness, social anxiety, negative self-esteem, and self-reported lower school performance. Nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis using boys were almost twice more likely to report high PVG than non-users.

Conclusions

It appears that online gaming in general is not necessarily associated with problems. However, problematic gamers do seem to play online games more often, and a small subgroup of gamers — specifically boys — showed lower psychosocial functioning and lower grades. Moreover, associations with alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis use are found. It would appear that problematic gaming is an undesirable problem for a small subgroup of gamers. The findings encourage further exploration of the role of psychoactive substance use in problematic gaming.

Open access