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Authors: Sina Zadra, Gallus Bischof, Bettina Besser, Anja Bischof, Christian Meyer, Ulrich John and Hans-Jürgen Rumpf

Background and aims

Data on Internet addiction (IA) and its association with personality disorder are rare. Previous studies are largely restricted to clinical samples and insufficient measurement of IA.

Methods

Cross-sectional analysis data are based on a German sub-sample (n = 168; 86 males; 71 meeting criteria for IA) with increased levels of excessive Internet use derived from a general population sample (n = 15,023). IA was assessed with a comprehensive standardized interview using the structure of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and the criteria of Internet Gaming Disorder as suggested in DSM-5. Impulsivity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and self-esteem were assessed with the widely used questionnaires.

Results

Participants with IA showed higher frequencies of personality disorders (29.6%) compared to those without IA (9.3%; p < .001). In males with IA, Cluster C personality disorders were more prevalent than among non-addicted males. Compared to participants who had IA only, lower rates of remission of IA were found among participants with IA and additional cluster B personality disorder. Personality disorders were significantly associated with IA in multivariate analysis. Discussion and conclusion: Comorbidity of IA and personality disorders must be considered in prevention and treatment.

Open access
Authors: Kristian Krause, Anja Bischof, Silvia Lewin, Diana Guertler, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Ulrich John and Christian Meyer

Background and aims

Symptoms of pathological gambling (SPG) and depression often co-occur. The nature of this relationship remains unclear. Rumination, which is well known to be associated with depression, might act as a common underlying factor explaining the frequent co-occurrence of both conditions. The aim of this study is to analyze associations between the rumination subfactors brooding and reflection and SPG.

Methods

Participants aged 14–64 years were recruited within an epidemiological study on pathological gambling in Germany. Cross-sectional data of 506 (80.4% male) individuals with a history of gambling problems were analyzed. The assessment included a standardized clinical interview. To examine the effects of rumination across different levels of problem gambling severity, sequential quantile regression was used to analyze the association between the rumination subfactors and SPG.

Results

Brooding (p = .005) was positively associated with the severity of problem gambling after adjusting for reflection, depressive symptoms, and sociodemographic variables. Along the distribution of problem gambling severity, findings hold for all but the lowest severity level. Reflection (p = .347) was not associated with the severity of problem gambling at the median. Along the distribution of problem gambling severity, there was an inverse association at only one quantile.

Discussion and conclusions

Brooding might be important in the development and maintenance of problem gambling. With its relations to depression and problem gambling, it might be crucial when it comes to explaining the high comorbidity rates between SPG and depression. The role of reflection in SPG remains inconclusive.

Open access
Authors: Katrin Sevelko, Gallus Bischof, Anja Bischof, Bettina Besser, Ulrich John, Christian Meyer and Hans-Jürgen Rumpf

Background and aims

Internet Addiction (IA) has consistently been related to comorbid psychiatric disorders and lowered self-esteem. However, most studies relied on self-report questionnaires using non-representative samples. This study aims to analyze the relative impact of self-esteem and comorbid psychopathology with lifetime IA in a population-based sample of excessive Internet users using clinical diagnoses assessed in a personal interview.

Methods

The sample of this study is based on a general population survey. Using the Compulsive Internet Use Scale, all participants with elevated Internet use scores were selected and invited to a follow-up interview. Current DSM-5 criteria for Internet gaming disorder were rephrased to apply to all Internet activities. Out of 196 participants, 82 fulfilled the criteria for IA. Self-esteem was measured with the Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale.

Results

Self-esteem is significantly associated with IA. For every unit increase in self-esteem, the chance of having IA decreased by 11%. By comparison, comorbidities such as substance-use disorder (excluding tobacco), mood disorder, and eating disorder were significantly more likely among Internet-addicted than in the non-addicted group. This could not be reported for anxiety disorders. A logistic regression showed that by adding self-esteem and psychopathology into the same model, self-esteem maintains its strong influence on IA.

Discussion and conclusions

Self-esteem was associated with IA, even after adjustment for substance-use disorders, mood disorder, and eating disorder. Self-esteem and psychopathology should be considered in prevention, intervention measures, as well as in the conception of etiological models.

Open access

Background and aims

Deficits in emotion regulation (ER) are associated with mental disorders. To date, there are hardly any studies focusing on the role of ER strategies in the context of gambling behavior. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between specific ER strategies and pathological as well as problematic gambling in a proactively recruited sample.

Methods

A large and unselected sample (n = 4,928) has been screened proactively and systematically in vocational schools. We assessed the Affective Style Questionnaire to measure ER strategies and the Stinchfield questionnaire for assessing problematic and pathological gambling. Associations were investigated with linear and multinomial logistic regression analyses.

Results

The analyses showed a significant negative correlation between the subscales “Adjusting” and “Tolerating” and the Stinchfield sum score. Lower scores on these subscales were associated with a higher number of endorsed Stinchfield items. A lower score on the ER strategies “Adjusting” [conditional odds ratio (COR) = 0.95, confidence interval (CI) = 0.91–0.99] and “Tolerating” [COR = 0.95, CI = 0.92–99] led to a higher chance of being classified as a pathological gambler. In problematic gambling, on a subthreshold level, only “Tolerating” turned out to be significant [COR = 0.96, CI = 0.93–0.99].

Discussion and conclusions

For the first time, deficits in specific ER strategies were identified as independent risk factors for problematic and pathological gambling in a large and proactively recruited sample. ER skills, especially acceptance-focused strategies, should be considered in prevention and psychotherapy.

Open access
Authors: Bettina Besser, Lotta Loerbroks, Gallus Bischof, Anja Bischof and Hans-Jürgen Rumpf

Background and aims

The diagnosis “Internet Gaming Disorder” (IGD) has been included in the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, the nine criteria have not been sufficiently reviewed for their diagnostic value. This study focuses on a broader approach of Internet addiction (IA) including other Internet activities. It is not yet clear what the construct of IA is in terms of dimensionality and homogeneity and how the individual criteria contribute to explained variance.

Methods

Three separate exploratory factor analyses and multinomial logistic regression analyses were carried out based on information collected from a general population-based sample (n = 196), a sample of people recruited at job centers (n = 138), and a student sample (n = 188).

Results

Both of the adult samples show a distinct single-factor solution. The analysis of the student sample suggests a two-factor solution. Only one item (criterion 8: escape from a negative mood) can be assigned to the second factor. Altogether, high endorsement rates of the eighth criterion in all three samples indicate low discriminatory power.

Discussion and conclusions

Overall, the analysis shows that the construct of IA is represented one dimensionally by the diagnostic criteria of the IGD. However, the student sample indicates evidence of age-specific performance of the criteria. The criterion “Escape from a negative mood” might be insufficient in discriminating between problematic and non-problematic Internet use. The findings deserve further examination, in particular with respect to the performance of the criteria in different age groups as well as in non-preselected samples.

Open access

Policy and prevention efforts for gaming should consider a broad perspective

Commentary on: Policy responses to problematic video game use: A systematic review of current measures and future possibilities (Király et al., 2018)

Authors: Nancy M. Petry, Kristyn Zajac, Meredith Ginley, Jeroen Lemmens, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Chih-Hung Ko and Florian Rehbein

Internet gaming disorder is gaining attention around the world. Some efforts have been directed toward preventing gaming problems from developing or persisting, but few approaches have been empirically evaluated. No known effective prevention intervention exists. Reviewing the broader field of prevention research should help research and best practices move forward in abating problems that arise from excessive gaming.

Open access
Authors: Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, Daria J. Kuss, Lucia Romo, Yannick Morvan, Laurence Kern, Pierluigi Graziani, Amélie Rousseau, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Anja Bischof, Ann-Kathrin Gässler, Adriano Schimmenti, Alessia Passanisi, Niko Männikkö, Maria Kääriänen, Zsolt Demetrovics, Orsolya Király, Mariano Chóliz, Juan José Zacarés, Emilia Serra, Mark D. Griffiths, Halley M. Pontes, Bernadeta Lelonek-Kuleta, Joanna Chwaszcz, Daniele Zullino, Lucien Rochat, Sophia Achab and Joël Billieux

Background and aims

Despite many positive benefits, mobile phone use can be associated with harmful and detrimental behaviors. The aim of this study was twofold: to examine (a) cross-cultural patterns of perceived dependence on mobile phones in ten European countries, first, grouped in four different regions (North: Finland and UK; South: Spain and Italy; East: Hungary and Poland; West: France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland), and second by country, and (b) how socio-demographics, geographic differences, mobile phone usage patterns, and associated activities predicted this perceived dependence.

Methods

A sample of 2,775 young adults (aged 18–29 years) were recruited in different European Universities who participated in an online survey. Measures included socio-demographic variables, patterns of mobile phone use, and the dependence subscale of a short version of the Problematic Mobile Phone Use Questionnaire (PMPUQ; Billieux, Van der Linden, & Rochat, 2008).

Results

The young adults from the Northern and Southern regions reported the heaviest use of mobile phones, whereas perceived dependence was less prevalent in the Eastern region. However, the proportion of highly dependent mobile phone users was more elevated in Belgium, UK, and France. Regression analysis identified several risk factors for increased scores on the PMPUQ dependence subscale, namely using mobile phones daily, being female, engaging in social networking, playing video games, shopping and viewing TV shows through the Internet, chatting and messaging, and using mobile phones for downloading-related activities.

Discussion and conclusions

Self-reported dependence on mobile phone use is influenced by frequency and specific application usage.

Open access
Authors: Matthias Brand, Hans-JÜrgen Rumpf, Zsolt Demetrovics, Astrid MÜller, Rudolf Stark, Daniel L. King, Anna E. Goudriaan, Karl Mann, Patrick Trotzke, Naomi A. Fineberg, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Shane W. Kraus, Elisa Wegmann, JoËl Billieux and Marc N. Potenza

Abstract

Background

Gambling and gaming disorders have been included as “disorders due to addictive behaviors” in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Other problematic behaviors may be considered as “other specified disorders due to addictive behaviors (6C5Y).”

Methods

Narrative review, experts' opinions.

Results

We suggest the following meta-level criteria for considering potential addictive behaviors as fulfilling the category of “other specified disorders due to addictive behaviors”:

1. Clinical relevance: Empirical evidence from multiple scientific studies demonstrates that the specific potential addictive behavior is clinically relevant and individuals experience negative consequences and functional impairments in daily life due to the problematic and potentially addictive behavior.

2. Theoretical embedding: Current theories and theoretical models belonging to the field of research on addictive behaviors describe and explain most appropriately the candidate phenomenon of a potential addictive behavior.

3. Empirical evidence: Data based on self-reports, clinical interviews, surveys, behavioral experiments, and, if available, biological investigations (neural, physiological, genetic) suggest that psychological (and neurobiological) mechanisms involved in other addictive behaviors are also valid for the candidate phenomenon. Varying degrees of support for problematic forms of pornography use, buying and shopping, and use of social networks are available. These conditions may fit the category of “other specified disorders due to addictive behaviors”.

Conclusion

It is important not to over-pathologize everyday-life behavior while concurrently not trivializing conditions that are of clinical importance and that deserve public health considerations. The proposed meta-level-criteria may help guide both research efforts and clinical practice.

Open access
Authors: John B. Saunders, Wei Hao, Jiang Long, Daniel L. King, Karl Mann, Mira Fauth-Bühler, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Thomas Chung, Elda Chan, Norharlina Bahar, Sophia Achab, Hae Kook Lee, Marc Potenza, Nancy Petry, Daniel Spritzer, Atul Ambekar, Jeffrey Derevensky, Mark D. Griffiths, Halley M. Pontes, Daria Kuss, Susumu Higuchi, Satoko Mihara, Sawitri Assangangkornchai, Manoj Sharma, Ahmad El Kashef, Patrick Ip, Michael Farrell, Emanuele Scafato, Natacha Carragher and Vladimir Poznyak

Online gaming has greatly increased in popularity in recent years, and with this has come a multiplicity of problems due to excessive involvement in gaming. Gaming disorder, both online and offline, has been defined for the first time in the draft of 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). National surveys have shown prevalence rates of gaming disorder/addiction of 10%–15% among young people in several Asian countries and of 1%–10% in their counterparts in some Western countries. Several diseases related to excessive gaming are now recognized, and clinics are being established to respond to individual, family, and community concerns, but many cases remain hidden. Gaming disorder shares many features with addictions due to psychoactive substances and with gambling disorder, and functional neuroimaging shows that similar areas of the brain are activated. Governments and health agencies worldwide are seeking for the effects of online gaming to be addressed, and for preventive approaches to be developed. Central to this effort is a need to delineate the nature of the problem, which is the purpose of the definitions in the draft of ICD-11.

Open access

Including gaming disorder in the ICD-11: The need to do so from a clinical and public health perspective

Commentary on: A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution (van Rooij et al., 2018)

Authors: Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Sophia Achab, Joël Billieux, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Natacha Carragher, Zsolt Demetrovics, Susumu Higuchi, Daniel L. King, Karl Mann, Marc Potenza, John B. Saunders, Max Abbott, Atul Ambekar, Osman Tolga Aricak, Sawitri Assanangkornchai, Norharlina Bahar, Guilherme Borges, Matthias Brand, Elda Mei-Lo Chan, Thomas Chung, Jeff Derevensky, Ahmad El Kashef, Michael Farrell, Naomi A. Fineberg, Claudia Gandin, Douglas A. Gentile, Mark D. Griffiths, Anna E. Goudriaan, Marie Grall-Bronnec, Wei Hao, David C. Hodgins, Patrick Ip, Orsolya Király, Hae Kook Lee, Daria Kuss, Jeroen S. Lemmens, Jiang Long, Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, Satoko Mihara, Nancy M. Petry, Halley M. Pontes, Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Florian Rehbein, Jürgen Rehm, Emanuele Scafato, Manoi Sharma, Daniel Spritzer, Dan J. Stein, Philip Tam, Aviv Weinstein, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, Klaus Wölfling, Daniele Zullino and Vladimir Poznyak

The proposed introduction of gaming disorder (GD) in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) has led to a lively debate over the past year. Besides the broad support for the decision in the academic press, a recent publication by van Rooij et al. (2018) repeated the criticism raised against the inclusion of GD in ICD-11 by Aarseth et al. (2017). We argue that this group of researchers fails to recognize the clinical and public health considerations, which support the WHO perspective. It is important to recognize a range of biases that may influence this debate; in particular, the gaming industry may wish to diminish its responsibility by claiming that GD is not a public health problem, a position which maybe supported by arguments from scholars based in media psychology, computer games research, communication science, and related disciplines. However, just as with any other disease or disorder in the ICD-11, the decision whether or not to include GD is based on clinical evidence and public health needs. Therefore, we reiterate our conclusion that including GD reflects the essence of the ICD and will facilitate treatment and prevention for those who need it.

Open access