Topical Collection "Gambling, Gaming and Other Behavioural Addictions"

Editor

Dr. Stephanie Merkouris
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia
Interests: gambling disorder; behavioural addictions; treatment; risk and protective factors

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

In this Special Issue on Gambling, Gaming and Other Behavioural Addictions, we aim to expand our understanding of all behavioural addictions (e.g., gambling disorder, internet gaming disorder, problematic social media use). We will accept submissions of full-length articles that address a range of topics including the aetiology of behavioural addictions, screening and assessment measures for behavioural addictions and prevention and treatment approaches for behavioural addictions. We welcome submissions of empirical papers, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses, from various perspectives, such as clinical psychology, epidemiology and public health, psychiatry and neuroscience.

Dr. Stephanie Merkouris
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Clinical Medicine is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Behavioural addictions
  • Gambling disorder
  • Gaming disorder
  • Aetiology
  • Screening
  • Assessment
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

Published Papers (10 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Article
From Emotional (Dys)Regulation to Internet Addiction: A Mediation Model of Problematic Social Media Use among Italian Young Adults
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(1), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11010188 - 30 Dec 2021
Viewed by 204
Abstract
Internet addiction (IA) has mostly been investigated with the fear of missing out and difficulties in emotional regulation. The present study examined the link between IA and variables related to problematic social media use (i.e., fear of missing out, social media addiction), together [...] Read more.
Internet addiction (IA) has mostly been investigated with the fear of missing out and difficulties in emotional regulation. The present study examined the link between IA and variables related to problematic social media use (i.e., fear of missing out, social media addiction), together with emotional (dys)regulation and personality traits, providing new insights and an integrated assessment of IA. In total, 397 participants, aged 18–35 years (M = 22.00; SD = 3.83), were administered a set of questionnaires pertaining to IA, problematic social media use, emotional (dys)regulation, and personality traits. Pearson’s correlations showed significant associations between IA and the investigated variables, and the tested mediation model highlighted the crucial role played by emotional (dys)regulation in the fear of missing out and problematic use of social networks. Overall, the findings provide support for a new integrated model for understanding the features, predictors, and risk factors of IA. Full article
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Article
Development and Validation of the RAFFLE: A Measure of Reasons and Facilitators for Loot Box Engagement
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(24), 5949; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10245949 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 506
Abstract
Qualitative studies have identified a diverse array of motivations for purchasing items within video games through chance-based mechanisms (i.e., “loot boxes”). Given that some individuals—particularly those at risk of disordered gaming and/or gambling—are prone to over-involvement with loot box purchasing, it is important [...] Read more.
Qualitative studies have identified a diverse array of motivations for purchasing items within video games through chance-based mechanisms (i.e., “loot boxes”). Given that some individuals—particularly those at risk of disordered gaming and/or gambling—are prone to over-involvement with loot box purchasing, it is important to have a reliable, valid means of measuring the role of different motivations in driving purchasing behaviour. Building on prior qualitative research, this paper reports the development and validation of the “RAFFLE” scale, to measure the Reasons and Facilitators for Loot box Engagement. A 23-item, seven-factor scale was developed through cognitive interviews (n = 25) followed by two surveys of UK-based gamers who purchase loot boxes; analysed via exploratory (n = 503) and confirmatory (n = 1495) factor analysis, respectively. Subscales encompassed “enhancement’; “progression’; “social pressure’; “distraction/compulsion’; “altruism’; “fear of missing out’; and “resale”. The scale showed good criterion and construct validity (correlating well with measures of loot box engagement; the risky loot box index (r = 0.63) and monthly self-reported spend (r = 0.38)), and good internal validity (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.84). Parallels with, and divergence from, motivations for related activities of gaming and gambling, and alignment with broader theoretical models of motivation, are discussed. Full article
Article
GamblingLess: A Randomised Trial Comparing Guided and Unguided Internet-Based Gambling Interventions
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(11), 2224; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112224 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 723
Abstract
There is little evidence relating to the effects of adding guidance to internet-based gambling interventions. The primary aim was to compare the effectiveness of an online self-directed cognitive-behavioural gambling program (GamblingLess) with and without therapist-delivered guidance. It was hypothesised that, compared [...] Read more.
There is little evidence relating to the effects of adding guidance to internet-based gambling interventions. The primary aim was to compare the effectiveness of an online self-directed cognitive-behavioural gambling program (GamblingLess) with and without therapist-delivered guidance. It was hypothesised that, compared to the unguided intervention, the guided intervention would result in superior improvements in gambling symptom severity, urges, frequency, expenditure, psychological distress, quality of life and help-seeking. A two-arm, parallel-group, randomised trial with pragmatic features and three post-baseline evaluations (8 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 months) was conducted with 206 gamblers (106 unguided; 101 guided). Participants in both conditions reported significant improvements in gambling symptom severity, urges, frequency, expenditure, and psychological distress across the evaluation period, even after using intention-to-treat analyses and controlling for other low- and high-intensity help-seeking, as well as clinically significant changes in gambling symptom severity (69% recovered/improved). The guided intervention resulted in additional improvements to urges and frequency, within-group change in quality of life, and somewhat higher rates of clinically significant change (77% cf. 61%). These findings, which support the delivery of this intervention, suggest that guidance may offer some advantages but further research is required to establish when and for whom human support adds value. Full article
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Article
“It’s the Attraction of Winning That Draws You in”—A Qualitative Investigation of Reasons and Facilitators for Videogame Loot Box Engagement in UK Gamers
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(10), 2103; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10102103 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Excessive engagement with (increasingly prevalent) loot boxes within games has consistently been linked with disordered gambling and/or gaming. The importance of recognising and managing potential risks associated with loot box involvement means understanding contributing factors is a pressing research priority. Given that motivations [...] Read more.
Excessive engagement with (increasingly prevalent) loot boxes within games has consistently been linked with disordered gambling and/or gaming. The importance of recognising and managing potential risks associated with loot box involvement means understanding contributing factors is a pressing research priority. Given that motivations for gaming and gambling have been informative in understanding risky engagement with those behaviours, this qualitative study investigated motivations for buying loot boxes, through in-depth interviews with 28 gamers from across the UK. A reflexive thematic analysis categorised reasons for buying into seven “themes”; opening experience; value of box contents; game-related elements; social influences; emotive/impulsive influences; fear of missing out; triggers/facilitators. These themes are described in detail and discussed in relation to the existing literature and motivation theories. This study contributes to understanding ways in which digital items within loot boxes can be highly valued by purchasers, informing the debate around parallels with gambling. Findings that certain motivations were disproportionately endorsed by participants with symptoms of problematic gambling has potential implications for policy and warrants further study. Full article
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Article
Ecological Momentary Assessment of the Relationship between Positive Outcome Expectancies and Gambling Behaviour
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(8), 1709; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10081709 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Relapse prevention models suggest that positive outcome expectancies can constitute situational determinants of relapse episodes that interact with other factors to determine the likelihood of relapse. The primary aims were to examine reciprocal relationships between situational positive gambling outcome expectancies and gambling behaviour [...] Read more.
Relapse prevention models suggest that positive outcome expectancies can constitute situational determinants of relapse episodes that interact with other factors to determine the likelihood of relapse. The primary aims were to examine reciprocal relationships between situational positive gambling outcome expectancies and gambling behaviour and moderators of these relationships. An online survey and a 28 day Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) were administered to 109 past-month gamblers (84% with gambling problems). EMA measures included outcome expectancies (enjoyment/arousal, self-enhancement, money), self-efficacy, craving, negative emotional state, interpersonal conflict, social pressure, positive emotional state, financial pressures, and gambling behaviour (episodes, expenditure). Pre-EMA measures included problem gambling severity, motives, psychological distress, coping strategies, and outcome expectancies. No reciprocal relationships between EMA outcome expectancies and gambling behaviour (episodes, expenditure) were identified. Moderations predicting gambling episodes revealed: (1) cravings and problem gambling exacerbated effects of enjoyment/arousal expectancies; (2) positive emotional state and positive reframing coping exacerbated effects of self-enhancement expectancies; and (3) instrumental social support buffered effects of money expectancies. Positive outcome expectancies therefore constitute situational determinants of gambling behaviour, but only when they interact with other factors. All pre-EMA expectancies predicted problem gambling severity (OR = 1.61–3.25). Real-time interventions addressing gambling outcome expectancies tailored to vulnerable gamblers are required. Full article
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Article
Adult Gambling Problems and Histories of Mental Health and Substance Use: Findings from a Prospective Multi-Wave Australian Cohort Study
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(7), 1406; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071406 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 604
Abstract
Little is known about the cumulative effect of adolescent and young adult mental health difficulties and substance use problems on gambling behaviour in adulthood. We use data from one of Australia’s longest running studies of social and emotional development to examine the extent [...] Read more.
Little is known about the cumulative effect of adolescent and young adult mental health difficulties and substance use problems on gambling behaviour in adulthood. We use data from one of Australia’s longest running studies of social and emotional development to examine the extent to which: (1) mental health symptoms (depressive and anxiety symptoms) and substance use (weekly binge drinking, tobacco, and cannabis use) from adolescence (13–18 years) into young adulthood (19–28 years) predict gambling problems in adulthood (31–32 years); and (2) risk relationships differ by sex. Analyses were based on responses from 1365 adolescent and young adult participants, spanning seven waves of data collection (1998–2014). Persistent adolescent to young adult binge drinking, tobacco use and cannabis use predicted gambling at age 31–32 years (OR = 2.30–3.42). Binge drinking and tobacco use in young adulthood also predicted gambling at age 31–32 years (OR = 2.04–2.54). Prior mental health symptoms were not associated with gambling and no risk relationships differed by sex. Findings suggest that gambling problems in adulthood may be related to the earlier development of other addictive behaviours, and that interventions targeting substance use from adolescence to young adulthood may confer additional gains in preventing later gambling behaviours. Full article
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Article
Affected Others Responsivity to Gambling Harm: An International Taxonomy of Consumer-Derived Behaviour Change Techniques
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(4), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10040583 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1101
Abstract
Affected others impacted by someone else’s gambling utilise numerous behaviour change strategies to minimise gambling-related harm but knowledge on what these strategies are and how they are implemented is limited. This study aimed to develop a comprehensive data-driven taxonomy of the types of [...] Read more.
Affected others impacted by someone else’s gambling utilise numerous behaviour change strategies to minimise gambling-related harm but knowledge on what these strategies are and how they are implemented is limited. This study aimed to develop a comprehensive data-driven taxonomy of the types of self-help strategies used by affected others, and to categorize these into high-level behaviour change techniques (BCTs). Two taxonomies were developed using an inductive and deductive approach which was applied to a dataset of online sources and organised into the Rubicon model of action phases. These taxonomies were family-focused (how to reduce the impact of gambling harm on families) and gambler-focused (how to support the gambler in behaviour change). In total, 329 online sources containing 3536 different strategies were identified. The family-focused classification contained 16 BCTs, and the most frequent were professional support, financial management and planned consequences. The gambler-focused classification contained 11 BCTs, and the most frequent were feedback on behaviours, professional support and financial management. The majority of family- and gambler-focused BCTs fell under the actional phase of the Rubicon model. Grounded in lived experience, the findings highlight the need for intervention and resource development that includes a wide range of specific techniques that affected others can utilise. Full article
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Article
Opportunity Costs or Not? Validating the Short Gambling Harm Screen against a Set of “Unimpeachable” Negative Impacts
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10030549 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
Assessing the harmful consequences of gambling is an area of active investigation. One measure intended to capture gambling-related harm is the 10-item short gambling harm screen (SGHS). Although good psychometric properties have been reported, it has been suggested that the screen’s less severe [...] Read more.
Assessing the harmful consequences of gambling is an area of active investigation. One measure intended to capture gambling-related harm is the 10-item short gambling harm screen (SGHS). Although good psychometric properties have been reported, it has been suggested that the screen’s less severe probes may not represent genuinely harmful consequences, but rather may reflect rational opportunity costs. Consequently, it has been argued that the screen may lead to overestimation of the extent of gambling-related harm in the population. The current study sought to examine the psychometric performance of three less severe suspect items in the SGHS. Associations between each of these items and a specially constructed scale of relatively severe “unimpeachable” gambling harms were calculated from archival data from 5551 Australian and New Zealand gamblers. All three suspect items, both individually and upon aggregation, predicted greater endorsement of “unimpeachable” harms, and indicated the presence of gambling problems. Moreover, the SGHS as a whole is highly correlated with “unimpeachable” gambling harms. Including suspect items in the SGHS was found to improve predictions of low- and moderate-risk gambling status, but slightly decreased predictions of severe gambling problems. The results are inconsistent with the notion that SGHS harm probes capture either inconsequential consequences or opportunity costs. They confirm prior findings that harm symptomatology is unidimensional, and that the report of multiple more prevalent, but less severe, harms serves as an effective indicator of the spectrum of experienced harm. Full article
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Article
The Development of Empirically Derived Australian Low-Risk Gambling Limits
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(2), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10020167 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
This study derived a set of Australian low-risk gambling limits and explored the relative and absolute risk associated with exceeding these limits. Secondary analysis of population-representative Tasmanian and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) cross-sectional (11,597 respondents) and longitudinal studies (2027 respondents) was conducted. Balancing [...] Read more.
This study derived a set of Australian low-risk gambling limits and explored the relative and absolute risk associated with exceeding these limits. Secondary analysis of population-representative Tasmanian and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) cross-sectional (11,597 respondents) and longitudinal studies (2027 respondents) was conducted. Balancing sensitivity and specificity, the limits were: gambling frequency of 20–30 times per year; gambling expenditure of AUD $380–$615 per year (USD $240–$388 per year); gambling expenditure comprising 0.83–1.68% of gross personal income; and two types of gambling activities per year. All limits, except number of activities, predicted subsequent harm, with limits related to gambling expenditure consistently the best-performing. Exceeding the limits generally conferred a higher degree of relative and absolute risk, with gamblers exceeding the limits being 3–20 times more likely to experience harm than those who do not, and having a 5–17% risk of experiencing harm. Only 7–12% of gamblers exceeding the limits actually experienced harm. Gambling consumption lower than the limits also conferred a considerable amount of harm. Using a relative risk method, this study derived similar limits from disparate Australian states and territories. These limits can serve as working guidelines for the consideration of researchers, clinicians, and policy makers, but need to be subject to further rigorous empirical investigation. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021

Article
Self-Efficacy and Clinical Characteristics in Casual Gamers Compared to Excessive Gaming Users and Non-Gamers in Young Adults
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(9), 2720; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9092720 - 22 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1694
Abstract
This study investigated differences in the self-efficacy and clinical characteristics which were found relevant to addictive behaviors in young adults according to time spent gaming. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore self-efficacy in casual gamers relative to patients with [...] Read more.
This study investigated differences in the self-efficacy and clinical characteristics which were found relevant to addictive behaviors in young adults according to time spent gaming. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore self-efficacy in casual gamers relative to patients with internet gaming disorder (IGD) and non-gamers. In total, 158 young adults participated in this study and were divided into three groups: excessive gamers, who were diagnosed with IGD based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-fifth edition (DSM-5, n = 71); casual gamers, who played games regularly but did not meet the criteria for IGD (n = 37); and non-gamers/controls, who did not engage in gaming (n = 50). All participants completed self-administered questionnaires, including measures of self-efficacy and clinical features such as the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Behavioral Activation/Inhibition Systems, aggression, and psychosocial well-being. There were significant differences in the self-efficacy according to the extent of gaming (excessive gamers < casual gamers < non-gamers). In addition, aggression, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, level of stress, and behavioral inhibition system scores were significantly higher in excessive gamers than in casual gamers and non-gamers. These findings showed that individuals who spend more time playing games tend to have lower self-efficacy. Our study suggests that self-efficacy may protect against or constitute a risk of excessive gaming, particularly among casual gamers. It is necessary to pay attention to enhancing psychological well-being through self-efficacy to prevent addiction in young adult gamers. Full article
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