Craving is one of the main criteria for the diagnosis of substance use disorder according to the DSM-5; however, it is not included in the main criteria for gambling disorder (GD). In the present systematic review, we aimed to evaluate the available body of knowledge regarding gambling craving to help step forward to a consensus regarding this topic.
PsycINFO/PsycARTICLES and PubMed/Medline were used.
Study eligibility criteria, participants, and interventions
(1) individuals of both genders who had a clinical diagnosis of GD in which the presence of gambling craving were studied by means of tasks or self-report tools; (2) we included three types of studies: (a) validation articles of craving psychometric tools in which GD was assessed; (b) articles in which craving–GD association was explored; and (c) treatment articles for GD in which craving was assessed.
n = 63 studies were finally included in the systematic review. Some studies described an association between craving- and gambling-related factors, and craving was also described as a predictor of GD severity, gambling episodes, chasing persistence and income-generating offenses. Gambling craving also seems to be associated with emotional states and negative urgency. Finally, some studies implemented specific interventions for GD and assessed its impact on reducing gambling craving.
There is a growing body of knowledge on the relevant role of craving in gambling behavior and GD. Further studies are needed to reach a consensus on the diagnostic criterion for GD.
With the global expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic, social or physical distancing, quarantines, and lockdowns have become more prevalent. Concurrently, Pornhub, one of the largest pornography sites, has reported increased pornography use in multiple countries, with global traffic increasing over 11% from late February to March 17, 2020. While some substantial increases have coincided with Pornhub making its premium services free to countries in lockdowned or quarantined jurisdictions, countries without such free premium access have also reported increases in the range of 4–24%. In addition, pornography searches using the terms “coronavirus”, “corona”, and “covid” have reached more than 9.1 million. In this letter, we discuss COVID-19-related pornography-use patterns and the impact they may have with respect to problematic pornography use.
The recent growth of Internet use has led to an increase of potentially problematic behaviors that can be engaged online, such as online gambling or Internet gaming. The aim of this study is to better conceptualize Internet gaming disorder (IGD) by comparing it with gambling disorder (GD) patients who only gamble online (online GD).
A total of 288 adult patients (261 online GD and 27 IGD) completed self-reported questionnaires for exploring psychopathological symptoms, food addiction (FA), and personality traits.
Both clinical groups presented higher psychopathological scores and less functional personality traits when compared with a normative Spanish population. However, when comparing IGD to online GD, some singularities emerged. First, patients with IGD were younger, more likely single and unemployed, and they also presented lower age of disorder onset. In addition, they displayed lower somatization and depressive scores together with lower prevalence of tobacco use but higher FA scores and higher mean body mass index. Finally, they presented lower novelty seeking and persistence traits.
GD is fully recognized as a behavioral addiction, but IGD has been included in the Appendix of DSM-5 as a behavioral addiction that needs further study. Our findings suggest that IGD and online GD patients share some emotional distress and personality traits, but patients with IGD also display some differential characteristics, namely younger age, lower novelty seeking scores and higher BMI, and FA scores.
IGD presents some characteristics that are not extensive to online GD. These specificities have potential clinical implications and they need to be further studied.
Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory has been widely applied to different clinical populations, but few studies have reported empirical evidence based on this theory for treatment outcomes in patients with gambling disorder (GD) and compulsive buying (CB). The aims of this study were to explore the association between clinical variables and personality traits with reward and punishment sensitivity (RPS) levels in women (n = 88) who met diagnostic criteria for GD (n = 61) and CB (n = 27), and to determine the predictive capacity of RPS for primary short-term outcomes in a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention.
The CBT intervention consisted of 12 weekly sessions. Data on patients’ personality traits, RPS levels, psychopathology, sociodemographic factors, GD, and CB behavior were used in our analysis.
High RPS levels were associated with higher psychopathology in both CB and GD, and were a risk factor for dropout in the CB group. In the GD group, higher reward sensitivity scores increased the risk of dropout.
Discussion and conclusions
Our findings suggest that both sensitivity to reward and sensitivity to punishment independently condition patients’ response to treatment for behavioral addictions. The authors uphold that CBT interventions for such addictions could potentially be enhanced by taking RPS into consideration.
The main aim of this study was to analyze and describe the clinical characteristics and shared personality traits in different impulsivity–compulsivity spectrum disorders: substance use disorders (SUD), gambling disorder (GD), and bulimia nervosa (BN). The specific aims were to compare personality differences among individuals with pure SUD, BN with and without SUD, and GD with and without SUD. In addition, we assessed the differential predictive capacity of clinical and personality variables in relation to diagnostic subtype.
The sample comprised 998 subjects diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR criteria: 101 patients were diagnosed with SUD, 482 with GD, 359 with BN, 11 with GD + SUD, and 45 patients with BN + SUD. Various assessment instruments were administered, as well as other clinical measures, to evaluate their predictive capacity.
Marked differences in personality traits were observed between groups. Novelty seeking, harm avoidance, self-directedness, cooperation, and self-transcendence best differentiated the groups. Notably, novelty seeking was significantly higher in the two dual pathology subgroups. Patients with dual pathology showed the most dysfunctional personality profiles.
Discussion and conclusion
Our results indicate the existence of shared dysfunctional personality traits among the groups studied, especially in novelty seeking and self-directedness.
Pathological buying (PB) is a behavioral addiction that presents comorbidity with several psychiatric disorders. Despite the increase in the prevalence estimates of PB, relatively few PB instruments have been developed. Our aim was to assess the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the pathological buying screener (PBS) and to explore the associations between PB, psychopathology, and personality traits.
A total of 511 participants, including gambling disorder (GD) and eating disorder (ED) patients diagnosed according to DSM-5 criteria, as well as healthy controls (HCs), took part in the study.
Higher PB prevalence was obtained in ED patients than in the other two study groups (ED 12.5% vs. 1.3% HC and 2.7% GD). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) verified the 13-item structure of the PBS, and indexes of convergent and discriminant capacity were estimated. CFA confirmed the structure in two factors (excessive buying behavior and loss of control) with excellent internal consistency (α = .92 and .86, respectively). Good convergent capacity was obtained with external psychopathology and personality measures (positive correlations with novelty seeking and negative associations with self-directedness and harm avoidance were found). Good discriminative capacity to differentiate between the study groups was obtained.
Discussion and conclusions
This study provides support for the reliability and validity of the Spanish adaptation of the PBS. Female sex, higher impulsivity, and higher psychopathology were associated with PB.
Gambling disorder (GD) presents high rates of suicidality. The combined influences of emotion dysregulation and trait impulsivity are crucially important (albeit understudied) for developing strategies to treat GD and prevent suicide attempts. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between trait impulsivity, emotion dysregulation, and the dispositional use of emotion regulation (ER) strategies with suicidal ideation and psychopathological symptom severity in GD.
The sample composed of 249 patients with GD (166 with suicidal ideation) who underwent face-to-face clinical interviews and completed questionnaires to assess psychopathological symptoms, impulsive traits, and ER.
Patients with GD who presented suicidal ideation were older and had a later age of GD onset and higher GD severity. Analyses of variance showed higher comorbid symptoms, emotion dysregulation, and trait impulsivity in patients with suicidal ideation. Still, no significant differences were found in the use of ER strategies. SEM analysis revealed that a worse psychopathological state directly predicted suicidal ideation and that both emotion dysregulation and GD severity indirectly increased the risk of suicidal ideation through this state. High trait impulsivity predicted GD severity. Finally, a history of suicide attempts was directly predicted by suicidal ideation.
Patients with GD are at risk of presenting suicidal behaviors. The results of this study revealed the importance of comorbid psychopathology in the occurrence of suicidal ideation and the indirect effect of trait impulsivity and emotion dysregulation on suicidality. Thus, suicidal rates in GD could possibly be reduced by specifically targeting these domains during treatment.
The prevalence of gambling disorder (GD) in women has increased, but, to date, few studies have explored the features of clinical GD subtypes in female samples.
The aim of this study is to identify empirical clusters based on clinical/sociodemographic variables in a sample of treatment-seeking women with GD.
Agglomerative hierarchical clustering was applied to a sample of n = 280 patients, using sociodemographic variables, psychopathology, and personality traits as indicators for the grouping procedure.
Three mutually exclusive groups were obtained: (a) Cluster 1 (highly dysfunctional; n = 82, 29.3%) endorsed the highest levels in gambling severity, comorbid psychopathology, novelty seeking, harm avoidance, and self-transcendence, and the lowest scores in self-directedness and cooperativeness; (b) Cluster 2 (dysfunctional; n = 142, 50.7%) achieved medium mean scores in gambling severity and psychopathological symptoms; and (c) Cluster 3 (functional; n = 56, 20.0%) obtained the lowest mean scores in gambling severity and in psychopathology, and a personality profile characterized by low levels in novelty seeking, harm avoidance, and self-transcendence, and the highest levels in self-directedness and cooperativeness.
Discussion and conclusions
This study sheds light on the clinical heterogeneity of women suffering from GD. Identifying the differing features of women with GD is vital to developing prevention programs and personalized treatment protocols for this overlooked population.
Due to the contribution of age to the etiology of gambling disorder (GD), there is a need to assess the moderator effect of the aging process with other features that are highly related with the clinical profile. The objective of this study is to examine the role of the chronological age into the relationships between cognitive biases, impulsivity levels and gambling preference with the GD profile during adulthood.
Sample included n = 209 patients aged 18–77 years-old recruited from a Pathological Gambling Outpatients Unit. Orthogonal contrasts explored polynomial patterns in data, and path analysis implemented through structural equation modeling assessed the underlying mechanisms between the study variables.
Compared to middle-age patients, younger and older age groups reported more impairing irrational beliefs (P = 0.005 for interpretative control and P = 0.043 for interpretative bias). A linear trend showed that as people get older sensation seeking (P = 0.006) and inability to stop gambling (P = 0.018) increase. Path analysis showed a direct effect between the cognitive bias and measures of gambling severity (standardized effects [SE] between 0.12 and 0.17) and a direct effect between impulsivity levels and cumulated debts due to gambling (SE = 0.22).
Screening tools and intervention plans should consider the aging process. Specific programs should be developed for younger and older age groups, since these are highly vulnerable to the consequences of gambling activities and impairment levels of impulsivity and cognitive biases.
Increased delay discounting is associated with obesity and binge eating disorder (BED). Although BED and obesity frequently co-occur, the neural mechanisms underlying delay discounting in these conditions remain poorly understood.
Thirtyfive women with obesity, including 10 participants with obesity and BED and 31 controls completed a monetary delay discounting task during functional magnetic resonance imaging.
We identified that increased discounting rates were associated with decreased activity in the left anterior insula in participants with obesity compared to controls when choosing immediate rewards over delayed rewards (PFWE < 0.05). An exploratory analysis comparing the BED subsample to the other groups did not detect significant differences.
Discussion and conclusions
Our findings suggest decreased activity in the anterior insula may underlie heightened delay discounting in individuals with obesity, contributing the probability of choosing immediate rewards over delayed rewards based on emotional states. Future studies including larger, more diverse samples are required to confirm these effects.