Information technology usage as a moderator between disordered gambling, internet gaming addiction, and illusory control [subscription access article]

Abstract: This study tested the hypothesis as to whether the mode and time of information technology use—such as using various electronic and computing devices for gambling and collecting information related to gambling—can positively predict disordered gambling, with the effects of Internet gaming addiction and illusory control being taken into account.

A questionnaire set was administered to 677 Hong Kong secondary school students to assess their maladaptive gambling behavior, Internet gaming addiction, illusory control, and the habit of information technology use, such as the amount of time spent on watching television, browsing the Internet, and playing online gambling and non-gambling games. The results suggest that utilizing computing and electronic devices for gambling-related activities is positively indicative of disordered gambling, making use of information technology for work or study being a buffering factor.

Utilizing information technology for non-gambling activities—such as the durations of playing non-gambling games and making non-gambling purchases online—is not related to disordered gambling, albeit their positive correlations with Internet gaming addiction. Likewise, Internet gaming addiction has no association with using information technology devices for any gambling-related activities, except its very small correlation with playing online gambling games.

In addition, tablet computers may provide a convenient means for gambling activities and tend to be used by problem gamblers. It is recommended that intervention strategies targeted at secondary school students should address not only the amount of use but also the way they use information technology devices. Article details and access conditions

Yu, Calvin Kai-Ching & Fu, Wai. (2018). International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.


Pilot study of problem gambling in specialized substance use disorder treatment—High lifetime prevalence of problem gambling in opioid maintenance treatment patients [open access article]

Håkansson, Anders & Ek, Johanna. (2018). Open Journal of Psychiatry, 8, 233–243. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2018.83020

Abstract: Problem gambling is over-represented in patients treated for substance use disorders, but substance-specific prevalence of problem gambling is rarely reported. In specialized addiction treatment facilities for opioid maintenance treatment and for alcohol and prescription drug dependence, respectively, 129 patients were screened for problem gambling using the NODS-CLiP. The lifetime prevalence of problem gambling was markedly higher in opioid maintenance treatment (61 percent) than in alcohol and prescription drug dependence treatment (11 percent, p < 0.001). When controlling for gender and age, problem gambling remained significantly associated with opioid maintenance treatment. The present study demonstrated a very high prevalence of lifetime problem gambling in opioid maintenance treatment patients. This calls for active screening for problem gambling in substance use disorder patients, and mainly in treatment for opioid dependence. Read full article

Pathological gambling and co-dependence [open access article]

Slezáková Silvia. (2018). Acta Ludologica, 1(1), 40-51.

Abstract: Pathological gambling is one of the addictions that is widespread in our society, but despite its seriousness, it does not receive sufficient attention. The economic consequences of pathological gambling are comparable to other addictions, although in the overall context, their economic impact is much greater. The social consequences of pathological gambling are even greater than in case of other addictions, as pathological gamblers mostly have a family, and because of their dependence, their family often becomes dysfunctional, with all the related consequences. There exist several effective treatment approaches to treat pathological gambling, as in the case of substance dependencies. For an understanding of pathological behaviour in online games and digital games, it is also necessary to understand the development of related phenomenon – pathological gambling. The aim of this article is to briefly describe pathological gambling and co-dependence. Access full article

Current suicidal ideation in treatment-seeking individuals in the United Kingdom with gambling problems

By Silvia Ronzitti, Emiliano Soldini, Neil Smith, Marc N. Potenza, Massimo Clerici, and Henrietta Bowden-Jones.

Background: Studies show higher lifetime prevalence of suicidality in individuals with pathological gambling. However, less is known about the relationship between pathological gambling and current suicidal ideation.

Objectives: We investigated socio-demographic, clinical and gambling-related variables associated with suicidality in treatment-seeking individuals.

Methods: Bivariate analyses and logistic regression models were generated on data from 903 individuals to identify measures associated with aspects of suicidality.

Results: Forty-six percent of patients reported current suicidal ideation. People with current suicidal thoughts were more likely to report greater problem-gambling severity (p < 0.001), depression (p < 0.001) and anxiety (p < 0.001) compared to those without suicidality. Logistic regression models suggested that past suicidal ideation (p < 0.001) and higher anxiety (p < 0.05) may be predictive factors of current suicidality.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the severity of anxiety disorder, along with a lifetime history of suicidal ideation, may help to identify treatment-seeking individuals with pathological gambling with a higher risk of suicidality, highlighting the importance of assessing suicidal ideation in clinical settings.

Ronzitti, S., Soldini, E., Smith, N., Potenza, M. N., Clerici, M., & Bowden-Jones, H. (2017). Current suicidal ideation in treatment-seeking individuals in the United Kingdom with gambling problems. Addictive Behaviors, 74, 33–40.

Internet-Based Delivery of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Compared to Monitoring, Feedback and Support for Problem Gambling: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Leanne M. Casey, Tian P. S. Oei, Namrata Raylu, Katherine Horrigan, Jamin Day, Michael Ireland, Bonnie A. Clough.

The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of an Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy program (I-CBT) for the treatment of problem gambling, when compared to a waitlist control and an active comparison condition consisting of monitoring, feedback, and support (I-MFS). Participants (N = 174) were randomly allocated to the three conditions. Variables of interest were gambling outcome and related mental health measures. Participants in the active conditions (I-CBT and I-MFS) completed six online modules. Both I-CBT and I-MFS conditions resulted in significant treatment gains on gambling severity. However, I-CBT was also associated with reductions in a range of other gambling-related and mental health outcomes. Compared with I-MFS, I-CBT produced greater effects across seven outcomes measures, relating to gambling urges, cognitions, stress, and life satisfaction. I-CBT participants also rated the program as significantly more satisfactory. Treatment gains observed for both active conditions were found to be stable through to 12 month follow up. The results indicate that the benefits of I-CBT were more than simply the non-specific effects of engaging in online treatment or receiving motivation, feedback, and support. Online treatments for gambling may be a valuable tool in increasing help-seeking and treatment engagement in this population, and be integrated as part of stepped care approaches to treatment.

Problem gambling worldwide: An update and systematic review of empirical research (2000–2015) (Full text)

Filipa Calado and Mark D. Griffiths

Background and aims: Problem gambling has been identified as an emergent public health issue, and there is a need to identify gambling trends and to regularly update worldwide gambling prevalence rates. This paper aims to review recent research on adult gambling and problem gambling (since 2000) and then, in the context of a growing liberalization of the gambling market in the European Union, intends to provide a more detailed analysis of adult gambling behavior across European countries.

Methods: A systematic literature search was carried out using academic databases, Internet, and governmental websites.

Results: Following this search and utilizing exclusion criteria, 69 studies on adult gambling prevalence were identified. These studies demonstrated that there are wide variations in past-year problem gambling rates across different countries in the world (0.12–5.8%) and in Europe (0.12–3.4%). However, it is difficult to directly compare studies due to different methodological procedures, instruments, cut-offs, and time frames. Despite the variability among instruments, some consistent results with regard to demographics were found.

Discussion and conclusion: The findings highlight the need for continuous monitoring of problem gambling prevalence rates in order to examine the influence of cultural context on gambling patterns, assess the effectiveness of policies on gambling-related harms, and establish priorities for future research.

Assessing Problem Gambling: a Review of Classic and Specialized Measures (full text)

By Kyle Caler, Jose Ricardo Vargas Garcia, Lia Nower

Purpose of Review – The rapid expansion of legalized gambling opportunities over the past 20 years has generated interest in problem gambling and gambling disorder. This review will provide an overview of classic and newer instruments in the field.Recent FindingsEarly instruments in the field of gambling studies were focused exclusively on population prevalence or diagnosis of disorder. However, a growing body of research, particularly in the clinical and neurobiological areas, have led to the development of a targeted measurement instruments and increased specialization designed for screening of a gambling disorder. Newer instruments and those that with renewed clinical and research interest are focused on specific areas such as cognitive distortions, and control of urges and cravings, which are key components of sustained recovery.SummaryMeasurement in the field of problem gambling is moving away from solely measuring population prevalence and psychiatric disorder toward targeting the specific mechanisms that underlie problem gambling and barriers to recovery. Future advances in measurement will necessitate using standardized measures to assess various facets of problem gambling and adopting a holistic approach to assessing facets synergistically to identify sub-groups and inform targeted treatment strategies.

Caler, K., Garcia, J. R. V., & Nower, L. (2016). Assessing Problem Gambling: a Review of Classic and Specialized Measures. Current Addiction Reports, 1–8.