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Abstract

Background and Aims

Despite problematic pornography use (PPU) being prevalent, no previous study has examined the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions for PPU, using rigorous methods. Using a two-armed randomized controlled trial study design, we examined the feasibility and initial effectiveness of a six-week online PPU intervention.

Methods

We recruited 264 participants (3.8% women, M age = 33.2, SD = 10.6) who were randomized and assigned to either the self-help intervention (n = 123) or waitlist control condition (n = 141), and completed self-report questionnaires at baseline and after the end of the intervention (six-week follow-up). Multivariable linear regression models were generated and tested on a complete case basis to investigate possible treatment effects. Participants provided quantitative and qualitative feedback regarding the intervention’s content and appearance.

Results

Participants evaluated all modules positively in the intervention in general. There were differential dropout rates (89.4% in intervention vs. 44.7% in control group) with an overall follow-up rate of 34.5%. The intervention group reported significantly lower levels of PPU (P < 0.001, d = 1.32) at the six-week follow-up. Moreover, they reported lower pornography use frequency (P < 0.001, d = 1.65), self-perceived pornography addiction (P = 0.01, d = 0.85), pornography craving (P = 0.02, d = 0.40), and higher pornography avoidance self-efficacy (P = 0.001, d = 0.87) at the six-week follow-up.

Discussion and Conclusions

The present study was only a first step in rigorous treatment studies for PPU, but the findings are promising and suggest that online interventions for PPU might help reduce PPU in some cases, even without the guidance of therapists, by reducing treatment barriers.

Open access

Abstract

Background and Aims

The past-year prevalence of problematic pornography use (PPU) was 1–6% in adult populations. As a result of treatment obstacles and barriers, such as unaffordable treatments, only a minority of problematic pornography users may seek treatment. Having a free, online, self-help program may overcome treatment barriers and may help those individuals who cannot receive traditional or offline treatment for PPU. Although the effectiveness of such online programs reducing substance use and problematic gambling have been reported, no prior study has examined the efficacy of an online self-help intervention aiming to reduce PPU.

Methods

This two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) will examine the effectiveness of an online self-help program (Hands-off) to reduce PPU, while also considering psychopathological comorbidities. The six-week intervention condition includes six core modules developed to reduce PPU based on motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and wise social-psychological intervention techniques. The target sample size is 242 participants. Self-report questionnaires will be administered at baseline, right after the end of the intervention, at one-month, and three-month follow-ups after the end of the intervention. The primary outcome will be the level of PPU. Secondary outcomes will include pornography use frequency, pornography craving, pornography use-avoidance self-efficacy, sex mindset, sexual satisfaction, negative and positive emotions, and life satisfaction. Data will be analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis using linear mixed models.

Results

Results will be reported at conferences and published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. The participants will be sent a lay-person-friendly summary of the results via e-mail.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Severin Haug
,
Raquel Paz Castro
,
Min Kwon
,
Andreas Filler
,
Tobias Kowatsch
, and
Michael P. Schaub

Background and Aims

Smartphone addiction, its association with smartphone use, and its predictors have not yet been studied in a European sample. This study investigated indicators of smartphone use, smartphone addiction, and their associations with demographic and health behaviour-related variables in young people.

Methods

A convenience sample of 1,519 students from 127 Swiss vocational school classes participated in a survey assessing demographic and health-related characteristics as well as indicators of smartphone use and addiction. Smartphone addiction was assessed using a short version of the Smartphone Addiction Scale for Adolescents (SAS-SV). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate demographic and health-related predictors of smartphone addiction.

Results

Smartphone addiction occurred in 256 (16.9%) of the 1,519 students. Longer duration of smartphone use on a typical day, a shorter time period until first smartphone use in the morning, and reporting that social networking was the most personally relevant smartphone function were associated with smartphone addiction. Smartphone addiction was more prevalent in younger adolescents (15–16 years) compared with young adults (19 years and older), students with both parents born outside Switzerland, persons reporting lower physical activity, and those reporting higher stress. Alcohol and tobacco consumption were unrelated to smartphone addiction.

Discussion

Different indicators of smartphone use are associated with smartphone addiction and subgroups of young people have a higher prevalence of smartphone addiction.

Conclusions

The study provides the first insights into smartphone use, smartphone addiction, and predictors of smartphone addiction in young people from a European country, which should be extended in further studies.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Buying-shopping disorder and its transferability to the online sector is controversial. This study investigates in-store and online shopping patterns by comparing data-based modeling to a diagnostic cut-off approach. Further aims were to test model equivalence for gender and identify socio-demographic risk factors.

Methods

In a representative survey, the Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale (BSAS) was applied, using both an online and in-store version. Latent class analyses were followed by multinomial logistic regression analyses to investigate socio-demographic variables. Measurement invariance across genders was tested with multi-group comparisons.

Results

With N = 1,012, 3-class solutions provided the best model fit for both in-store and online shopping. Most individuals (76, 86%) were grouped in non-addicted classes, followed by risky (21, 11%) and addicted classes (both 3%). Twenty-eight percent of individuals in the online addicted shopping class remained unidentified using the cut-off. For online shopping, only lower age and education differentiated classes significantly.

Discussion

Results indicate a close link between online and in-store shopping, albeit with distinguishing features. The cut-off yielded findings discrepant from class probabilities. That buying-shopping disorder mainly affects younger women of lower educational level must be questioned, given the limited associations identified.

Conclusions

It is important not only to consider different settings of pathological shopping, but also to focus on groups that may not have appeared at risk in previous investigations (e.g., men, older age). The BSAS cut-off warrants further research.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Nikolaos Boumparis
,
Severin Haug
,
Stefanie Abend
,
Joël Billieux
,
Heleen Riper
, and
Michael P. Schaub

Abstract

Background and aims

Behavioral addictions are a public health problem that causes harm to both individuals and society. Internet-based interventions offer potential benefits over face-to-face therapy for the treatment of behavioral addictions, including their accessibility, perceived anonymity, and low costs. We systematically reviewed the characteristics and effectiveness of these interventions.

Methods

A systematic literature search was conducted in: PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. A standardized methodological quality assessment was performed on all identified studies via the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool.

Results

Twenty-nine studies were assessed in this systematic review. Between them, considerable heterogeneity was noted in various study characteristics, including screening tools, inclusion criteria, and outcome measures. Attrition rates also ranged widely (9–89%), as did study quality, with three of the 29 studies rated strong, 12 moderate, and 14 weak methodologically. Twenty-two studies focused on gambling disorder, most revealing significant within-group effects for the assessed intervention on gambling-related symptoms and four of these studies identified significant between-group effects. Behavioral addictions studied in the remaining studies included gaming disorder, internet use disorder, hoarding disorder, and pornography use disorder, revealing generally-promising, albeit limited results.

Conclusions

Internet-based interventions seem promising at reducing gambling problems, but too few studies have been published, to date, for conclusions to be drawn for other behavioral addictions. Internet-based interventions targeting other behavioral addictions – like gaming disorder, internet use disorder, hoarding disorder, and pornography use disorder – remain under-examined, warranting considerable additional research to assess their effectiveness.

Open access