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Recommendations for increasing research on co-occurring serious mental illness and gambling problems

Commentary on: Disordered gambling and psychosis: Prevalence and clinical correlates (Cassetta et al., 2018)

Authors: Rebecca E. Pullman, Marc N. Potenza and Shane W. Kraus

Psychiatric disorders frequently co-occur with gambling disorder. Although community and clinical samples show frequent co-occurrence between gambling and psychotic disorders, relatively little research has been conducted on this population. Here, we comment on a recent study conducted in Brazil on the clinical correlates of psychotic disorders in treatment-seeking individuals with gambling disorder, relate the findings to those from the northeastern region of the United States, and discuss implications with respect to promoting responsible gambling in the setting of the expansion of legalized gambling.

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Background and aims

Despite controversies regarding its existence as a legitimate mental health condition, self-reports of pornography addiction seem to occur regularly. In the United States, prior works using various sampling techniques, such as undergraduate samples and online convenience samples, have consistently demonstrated that some pornography users report feeling dysregulated or out of control in their use. Even so, there has been very little work in US nationally representative samples to examine self-reported pornography addiction.

Methods

This study sought to examine self-reported pornography addiction in a US nationally representative sample of adult Internet users (N = 2,075).

Results

The results indicated that most participants had viewed pornography within their lifetimes (n = 1,461), with just over half reporting some use in the past year (n = 1,056). Moreover, roughly 11% of men and 3% of women reported some agreement with the statement “I am addicted to pornography.” Across all participants, such feelings were most strongly associated with male gender, younger age, greater religiousness, greater moral incongruence regarding pornography use, and greater use of pornography.

Discussion and conclusion

Collectively, these findings are consistent with prior works that have noted that self-reported pornography addiction is a complex phenomenon that is predicted by both objective behavior and subjective moral evaluations of that behavior.

Open access

Background and aims

This systematic review analyzes and summarizes gambling-related findings from the nationally representative US National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) data.

Methods

Systematic literature searches in accordance with PRISMA guidelines found 51 eligible studies that met inclusion criteria. Eight studies utilized both Waves 1 and 2 NESARC data, and selection of sample sizes varied from 185 to 43,093 individuals, consistent with specified research objectives of each study.

Results

The prevalence of lifetime pathological gambling was 0.42% (0.64% among men, 0.23% among women), while past-year prevalence was 0.16%. Pathological gambling rates were generally higher in populations with substance-use disorders and other psychiatric diagnoses. Rates of adverse childhood experiences and suicidal attempts were higher among individuals with problem or pathological gambling. Early-onset gamblers were more likely to be male, be never married, have incomes below $70,000, belong to younger cohorts and have Cluster B personality disorders, but less likely to be diagnosed with mood disorders. While pathological gambling was related to obesity, increased stress, and poorer physical health among general age groups, recreational gambling was linked with improved physical and mental functioning in older adults.

Conclusions

The NESARC has provided important information on the correlates of pathological gambling and subdiagnostic patterns of gambling behaviors. Additional studies should examine these relationships in the current gambling environment and longitudinally with aims of implementing policies to improve the public health.

Open access
Authors: Shane W. Kraus, Mateusz Gola, Joshua B. Grubbs, Ewelina Kowalewska, Rani A. Hoff, Michał Lew-Starowicz, Steve Martino, Steven D. Shirk and Marc N. Potenza

Abstract

Background and Aims

To address current gaps around screening for problematic pornography use (PPU), we initially developed and tested a six-item Brief Pornography Screen (BPS) that asked about PPU in the past six months.

Methods and Participants

We recruited five independent samples from the U.S. and Poland to evaluate the psychometric properties of the BPS. In Study 1, we evaluated the factor structure, reliability, and elements of validity using a sample of 224 U.S. veterans. One item from the BPS was dropped in Study 1 due to low item endorsement. In Studies 2 and 3, we further investigated the five-item the factor structure of the BPS and evaluated its reliability and validity in two national U.S. representative samples (N = 1,466, N = 1,063, respectively). In Study 4, we confirmed the factor structure and evaluated its validity and reliability using a sample of 703 Polish adults. In Study 5, we calculated the suggested cut-off score for the screen using a sample of 105 male patients seeking treatment for compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD).

Results

Findings from a principal components analysis and confirmatory factor analysis supported a one-factor solution which yielded high internal consistency (α = 0.89–0.90), and analyses further supported elements of construct, convergent, criterion, and discriminant validity of the newly developed screen. Results from a Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve suggested a cut-off score of four or higher for detecting possible PPU.

Conclusions

The BPS appears to be psychometrically sound, short, and easy to use in various settings with high potential for use in populations across international jurisdictions.

Open access
Authors: Skyler Sklenarik, Marc N. Potenza, Mateusz Gola, Ariel Kor, Shane W. Kraus and Robert S. Astur

Background and aims

Addicted individuals often demonstrate relatively automatic action tendencies in response to addiction-related stimuli, whereby they approach rather than avoid addictive stimuli. This study assessed whether an approach bias for erotic stimuli exists among heterosexual college-aged males who report using pornography.

Methods

We tested 72 male undergraduate students using an approach–avoidance task employing erotic stimuli, during which participants were instructed to push or pull a joystick in response to image orientation. To simulate approach and avoidance movements, pulling the joystick enlarged the image and pushing shrunk the image. Frequency and severity of pornography use was assessed using a Brief Pornography Screener and the Problematic Pornography Use Scale (PPUS).

Results

Participants demonstrated a significant approach bias for erotic stimuli as compared to neutral stimuli, and this approach bias significantly correlated with pornography-use measures. Moreover, individuals with problematic pornography use (as classified by the PPUS) showed more than double the approach bias than did non-problematic users.

Discussion and conclusion

The observation of cognitive biases for erotic stimuli in individuals with problematic pornography use indicate similarities between behavioral and substance addictions.

Open access
Authors: Shane W. Kraus, Harold Rosenberg, Steve Martino, Charla Nich and Marc N. Potenza

Background and aims

This study employed a newly developed questionnaire to evaluate whether men’s self-efficacy to avoid using pornography in each of 18 emotional, social, or sexually arousing situations was associated with either their typical frequency of pornography use or their hypersexuality.

Methods

Using an Internet-based data collection procedure, 229 male pornography users (M age = 33.3 years, SD = 12.2) who had sought or considered seeking professional help for their use of pornography completed questionnaires assessing their situationally specific self-efficacy, history of pornography use, self-efficacy to employ specific pornography-reduction strategies, hypersexuality, and demographic characteristics.

Results

Frequency of pornography use was significantly negatively associated with level of confidence in 12 of the 18 situations. In addition, lower hypersexuality and higher confidence to employ pornography-use-reduction strategies were associated with higher confidence to avoid using pornography in each of the 18 situations. A principal axis factor analysis yielded three clusters of situations: (a) sexual arousal/boredom/opportunity, (b) intoxication/locations/easy access, and (c) negative emotions.

Discussion and conclusions

This questionnaire could be employed to identify specific high-risk situations for lapse or relapse and as a measure of treatment outcome among therapy clients, but we recommend further examination of the psychometric properties and clinical utility of the questionnaire in treatment samples. Because only one of the three clusters reflected a consistent theme, we do not recommend averaging self-efficacy within factors to create subscales.

Open access

Background and aims

This study examined the prevalence of, and factors associated with, men’s interest in seeking treatment for use of pornography.

Methods

Using an Internet-based data-collection procedure, we recruited 1,298 male pornography users to complete questionnaires assessing demographic and sexual behaviors, hypersexuality, pornography-use characteristics, and current interest in seeking treatment for use of pornography.

Results

Approximately 14% of men reported an interest in seeking treatment for use of pornography, whereas only 6.4% of men had previously sought treatment for use of pornography. Treatment-interested men were 9.5 times more likely to report clinically significant levels of hypersexuality compared with treatment-disinterested men (OR = 9.52, 95% CI = 6.72–13.49). Bivariate analyses indicated that interest-in-seeking-treatment status was associated with being single/unmarried, viewing more pornography per week, engaging in more solitary masturbation in the past month, having had less dyadic oral sex in the past month, reporting a history of seeking treatment for use of pornography, and having had more past attempts to either “cut back” or quit using pornography completely. Results from a binary logistic regression analysis indicated that more frequent cut back/quit attempts with pornography and scores on the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory – Control subscale were significant predictors of interest-in-seeking-treatment status.

Discussion and conclusions

Study findings could be used to inform current screening practices aimed at identifying specific aspects of sexual self-control, impulsivity, and/or compulsivity associated with problematic use of pornography among treatment-seeking individuals.

Open access
Authors: Beáta Bőthe, Marc N. Potenza, Mark D. Griffiths, Shane W. Kraus, Verena Klein, Johannes Fuss and Zsolt Demetrovics

Abstract

Background

Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) is included in the eleventh edition of The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an impulse-control disorder.

Aims

The aim of the present work was to develop a scale (Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder Scale–CSBD-19) that can reliably and validly assess CSBD based on ICD-11 diagnostic guidelines.

Method

Four independent samples of 9,325 individuals completed self-reported measures from three countries (the United States, Hungary, and Germany). The psychometric properties of the CSBD-19 were examined in terms of factor structure, reliability, measurement invariance, and theoretically relevant correlates. A potential threshold was determined to identify individuals with an elevated risk of CSBD.

Results

The five-factor model of the CSBD-19 (i.e., control, salience, relapse, dissatisfaction, and negative consequences) had an excellent fit to the data and demonstrated appropriate associations with the correlates. Measurement invariance suggested that the CSBD-19 functions similarly across languages. Men had higher means than women. A score of 50 points was found as an optimal threshold to identify individuals at high-risk of CSBD.

Conclusions

The CSBD-19 is a short, valid, and reliable measure of potential CSBD based on ICD-11 diagnostic guidelines. Its use in large-scale, cross-cultural studies may promote the identification and understanding of individuals with a high risk of CSBD.

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