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Mobile and non-mobile Internet Use Disorder: Specific risks and possible shared Pavlovian conditioning processes. •

Commentary on: How to overcome taxonomical problems in the study of Internet use disorders and what to do with “smartphone addiction”? (Montag et al., 2019)

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Tania Moretta, Shubao Chen, and Marc N. Potenza

Abstract

This commentary addresses a recent article by Montag et al. (2019) about the relevance of distinguishing between mobile and non-mobile Internet Use Disorder (IUD). In response to the review, we reflect on the clinical relevance of this distinction and, in parallel, we propose some Pavlovian conditioning processes as possible mechanisms underlying different IUDs. We believe that, from a clinical point of view, it is of fundamental importance assessing both specific “forms” of IUDs and the underlying mechanisms that would be shared across different IUDs, like multiple and parallel classes of Pavlovian responses and the influences of Internet cues on Internet-related addictive behaviors that may be influenced by the probability of obtaining Internet rewards.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

It has been argued that similar to addictive behaviors, problematic Social Network sites use (PSNSU) is characterized by sensitized reward processing and cue-reactivity. However, no study to our knowledge has yet investigated cue-reactivity in PSNSU. The present study aims at investigating cue-reactivity to Social Network sites (i.e., Facebook)-related visual cues in individuals identified as problematic vs. non-problematic Facebook users by the Problematic Facebook Use Scale.

Methods

The Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) were recorded during the passive viewing of Facebook-related, pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral pictures in 27 problematic and 26 non-problematic users. Moreover, craving for Facebook usage was collected using a Likert scale.

Results

Despite problematic users were more likely to endorse higher craving than non-problematic ones, Facebook-related cues elicited larger ERP positivity (400–600 ms) than neutral, and comparable to unpleasant stimuli, in all Facebook users. Only in problematic users we found larger positivity (600–800 ms) to pleasant than unpleasant cues and higher craving to be related with lower later positivity (800–1,000 ms) to pleasant and unpleasant cues.

Discussion

Regardless of whether Facebook usage is problematic or non-problematic, Facebook-related cues seem to be motivationally relevant stimuli that capture attentional resources in the earlier stages of “motivated” attentional allocation. Moreover, our results support the view that in higher-craving problematic users, reduced abilities to experience emotions would be the result of defective emotion regulation processes that allow craving states to capture more motivational/attentional resources at the expense of other emotional states.

Open access

Background

Understanding gender-related differences is important in recovery processes. Previous studies have investigated gender-related differences in factors associated with gambling disorder (GD), but none to date have considered both positive and negative resources related to recovery. Using a recovery capital (RC) framework that considers multiple resources available during recovery, this study examined gender-related similarities and differences in associations between positive resources (RC, spirituality) and negative experiences and states (stressful life events, depression, and anxiety) and GD symptom improvement.

Method

One hundred and forty individuals with lifetime GD (101 men) were assessed using DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for GD (past-year and lifetime prior to past-year), the Brief Assessment of RC, the Intrinsic Spirituality Scale, the Stressful Life-events Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale, and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 for depression. Multiple linear regression and Bayesian statistical analyses were conducted.

Results

RC was positively and significantly associated with GD symptom improvement in women and men. Stressful life events were negatively associated with GD symptom improvement only in men.

Conclusions

RC is an important positive resource for men and women recovering from GD and should be considered in treating both women and men. Understanding specific RC factors across gender groups and stressors, particularly in men, may aid in developing improved interventions for GD.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Natale Canale, Tania Moretta, Luca Pancani, Giulia Buodo, Alessio Vieno, Mario Dalmaso, and Joël Billieux

Abstract

Background and aims

Problematic smartphone use (PSU) has been described as a growing public health issue. In the current study, we aimed to provide a unique and comprehensive test of the pathway model of PSU. This model posits three distinct developmental pathways leading to PSU: (1) the excessive reassurance pathway, (2) the impulsive pathway and (3) the extraversion pathway.

Methods

Undergraduate students (n = 795, 69.8% female, mean age = 23.80 years, sd = 3.02) completed online self-report measures of PSU (addictive use, antisocial use and dangerous use) and the psychological features (personality traits and psychopathological symptoms) underlying the three pathways.

Results

Bayesian analyses revealed that addictive use is mainly driven by the excessive reassurance pathway and the impulsive pathway, for which candidate etiopathological factors include heightened negative urgency, a hyperactive behavioural inhibition system and symptoms of social anxiety. Dangerous and antisocial use are mainly driven by the impulsive pathway and the extraversion pathway, for which candidate etiopathological factors include specific impulsivity components (lack of premeditation and sensation seeking) and primary psychopathy (inclination to lie, lack of remorse, callousness and manipulativeness).

Discussion and conclusions

The present study constitutes the first comprehensive test of the pathway model of PSU. We provide robust and original results regarding the psychological dimensions associated with each of the postulated pathways of PSU, which should be taken into account when considering regulation of smartphone use or tailoring prevention protocols to reduce problematic usage patterns.

Open access