This commentary challenges some of the proposals made in the opinion paper entitled “The expanded interactional model of exercise addiction” by Dinardi, Egorov, and Szabo (2021). We first question the usefulness of the (expanded) interactional model of exercise addiction to determine the psychological processes underlying distress and functional impairment in excessive physical exercise. We then consider the authors’ use of the Self-Determination Theory to model exercise addiction, which risks the misclassification of strenuous, but adaptive, patterns of physical exercise as exercise addiction. We finally address broader concerns regarding the idea that maladaptive exercising could be conceptualized as an addictive disorder.
Negative/positive urgency (NU/PU) refers to the proneness to act rashly under negative/positive emotions. These traits are proxies to generalized emotion dysregulation, and are well-established predictors of gambling-related problems. We aimed to replicate a previous work (Quintero et al., 2020) showing NU to be related to faulty extinction of conditioned stimuli in an emotional conditioning task, to extend these findings to PU, and to clarify the role of urgency in the development of gambling-related craving and problems.
81 gamblers performed an acquisition-extinction task in which neutral, disgusting, erotic and gambling-related images were used as unconditioned stimuli (US), and color patches as conditioned stimuli (CS). Trial-by-trial predictive responses were analyzed using generalized linear mixed-effects models (GLME).
PU was more strongly related than NU to craving and severity of gambling problems. PU did not influence acquisition in the associative task, whereas NU slightly slowed it. Extinction was hampered in individuals with high PU, and a follow-up analysis showed this effect to depend on relative preference for skill-based and casino games.
Discussion and conclusions
Results suggest that resistance to extinction of emotionally conditioned cues is a sign of malfunctioning emotion regulation in problematic gambling. In our work, the key effect was driven by PU (instead of NU), and gambling craving and symptoms were also more closely predicted by it. Future research should compare the involvement of PU and NU in emotion regulation and gambling problems, for gamblers with preference for different gambling modalities (e.g., pure chance vs skill games).
The paper by Sassover and Weinstein (2022) contributes to a timely and complex debate related to the classification of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD). The recent inclusion of CSBD as an impulse-control disorder in the ICD-11 has generated debate since a competitive view is that CSBD should rather be classified as an addictive disorder. Sassover and Weinstein (2022) reviewed existing evidence and concluded it does not support the conceptualization of CSBD as an addictive disorder. Although we agree regarding the relevance and timely nature of considering the classification of CSBD, we respectfully disagree with the position that relying on the components model of addiction (Griffiths, 2005) is the optimal approach for determining whether or not CSBD is an addictive disorder. In this commentary, we discuss potential pitfalls of relying on the components model to conceptualize CSBD as an addictive disorder and argue that considering a process-based approach is important for advancing this timely debate.
Abnormal cognitions are among the most salient domain-specific features of gambling disorder. The aims of this study were: (a) to examine and validate a Spanish version of the Gambling-Related Cognitions Scale (GRCS; Raylu & Oei, 2004) and (b) to examine associations between cognitive distortion levels, impulsivity, and gambling behavior.
This study first recruited a convenience sample of 500 adults who had gambled during the previous year. Participants were assessed using the Spanish version of GRCS (GRCS-S) questionnaire, the UPPS-P impulsivity questionnaire, measures of gambling behavior, and potentially relevant confounders. Robust confirmatory factor analysis methods on half the sample were used to select the best models from a hypothesis-driven set. The best solutions were validated on the other half, and the resulting factors were later correlated with impulsivity dimensions (in the whole n = 500 factor analysis sample) and clinically relevant gambling indices (in a separate convenience sample of 137 disordered and non-disordered gamblers; validity sample).
This study supports the original five-factor model, suggests an alternative four-factor solution, and confirms the psychometric soundness of the GRCS-S. Importantly, cognitive distortions consistently correlated with affect- or motivation-driven aspects of impulsivity (urgency and sensation seeking), but not with cognitive impulsivity (lack of premeditation and lack of perseverance).
Discussion and conclusions
Our findings suggest that the GRCS-S is a valid and reliable instrument to identify gambling cognitions in Spanish samples. Our results expand upon previous research signaling specific associations between gambling-related distortions and affect-driven impulsivity in line with models of motivated reasoning.
Existing research shows that gambling disorder patients (GDPs) process gambling outcomes abnormally when compared against healthy controls (HCs). These anomalies present the form of exaggerated or distorted beliefs regarding the expected utility of outcomes and one’s ability to predict or control gains and losses, as well as retrospective reinterpretations of what caused them. This study explores the possibility that the emotional regulation strategies GDPs use to cope with aversive events are linked to these cognitions.
41 GDPs and 45 HCs, matched in sociodemographic variables, were assessed in gambling severity, emotion-regulation strategies (cognitive emotion-regulation questionnaire, CERQ), and gambling-related cognitions (gambling-related cognitions scale, GRCS).
GDPs showed higher scores in all gambling-related cognition dimensions. Regarding emotion regulation, GDPs were observed to use self-blame and catastrophizing, but also positive refocusing, more often than controls. Additionally, in GDPs, putatively adaptive CERQ strategies shared a significant portion of variance with South Oaks gambling screen severity and GRCS beliefs. Shared variability was mostly attributable to the roles of refocusing on planning and putting into perspective at positively predicting severity and the interpretative bias (GDPs propensity to reframe losses in a more benign way), respectively.
Discussion and conclusions
Results show links between emotion-regulation strategies and problematic gambling-related behaviors and cognitions. The pattern of those links supports the idea that GDPs use emotion-regulation strategies, customarily regarded as adaptive, to cope with negative emotions, so that the motivational and cognitive processing of gambling outcomes becomes less effective in shaping gambling-related behavior.
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.
Open science refers to a set of practices that aim to make scientific research more transparent, accessible, and reproducible, including pre-registration of study protocols, sharing of data and materials, the use of transparent research methods, and open access publishing. In this commentary, we describe and evaluate the current state of open science practices in behavioral addiction research. We highlight the specific value of open science practices for the field; discuss recent field-specific meta-scientific reviews that show the adoption of such practices remains in its infancy; address the challenges to engaging with open science; and make recommendations for how researchers, journals, and scientific institutions can work to overcome these challenges and promote high-quality, transparently reported behavioral addiction research. By collaboratively promoting open science practices, the field can create a more sustainable and productive research environment that benefits both the scientific community and society as a whole.