J Behav Addict. 2017 Dec 1;6(4):669-677. doi: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.078.
Background and aims
The recent growth of Internet use has led to an increase of potentially problematic behaviors that can be engaged online, such as online gambling or Internet gaming. The aim of this study is to better conceptualize Internet gaming disorder (IGD) by comparing it with gambling disorder (GD) patients who only gamble online (online GD).
A total of 288 adult patients (261 online GD and 27 IGD) completed self-reported questionnaires for exploring psychopathological symptoms, food addiction (FA), and personality traits.
Both clinical groups presented higher psychopathological scores and less functional personality traits when compared with a normative Spanish population. However, when comparing IGD to online GD, some singularities emerged. First, patients with IGD were younger, more likely single and unemployed, and they also presented lower age of disorder onset. In addition, they displayed lower somatization and depressive scores together with lower prevalence of tobacco use but higher FA scores and higher mean body mass index. Finally, they presented lower novelty seeking and persistence traits.
GD is fully recognized as a behavioral addiction, but IGD has been included in the Appendix of DSM-5 as a behavioral addiction that needs further study. Our findings suggest that IGD and online GD patients share some emotional distress and personality traits, but patients with IGD also display some differential characteristics, namely younger age, lower novelty seeking scores and higher BMI, and FA scores.
IGD presents some characteristics that are not extensive to online GD. These specificities have potential clinical implications and they need to be further studied.
KEYWORDS: Internet gaming disorder; behavioral addiction; gambling disorder; online gambling