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      Commentary on: Are we overpathologizing everyday life? A tenable blueprint for behavioral addiction research : Problems with atheoretical and confirmatory research approaches in the study of behavioral addictions


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          Background and Aims

          This commentary is written in response to a paper by Billieux, Schimmenti, Khazaal, Maurage and Hereen (2015) published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.


          It supports and extends the arguments by Billieux, Schimmenti et al. (2015): that the study of behavioral addictions too often rests on atheoretical and confirmatory research approaches. This tends to lead to theories that lack specificity and a neglect of the underlying processes that might explain why repetitive problem behaviors occur.


          In this commentary I extend the arguments by Billieux, Schimmenti et al. (2015) and argue that such research approaches might take us further away from conceptualizing psychiatric diagnoses that can be properly validated, which is already a problem in the field. Furthermore, I discuss whether the empirical support for conceptualizing repetitive problem behaviors as addictions might rest on research practices that have been methodologically biased to produce a result congruent with the proposal that substance addictions and behavioral addictions share similar traits.


          I conclude by presenting a number of ways of going forward, chief of which is the proposal that we might wish to go beyond a priori assumptions of addiction in favor of identifying the essential problem manifestations for each new potential behavioral addiction.

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          Most cited references18

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          Are we overpathologizing everyday life? A tenable blueprint for behavioral addiction research

          Background Behavioral addiction research has been particularly flourishing over the last two decades. However, recent publications have suggested that nearly all daily life activities might lead to a genuine addiction. Methods and aim In this article, we discuss how the use of atheoretical and confirmatory research approaches may result in the identification of an unlimited list of “new” behavioral addictions. Results Both methodological and theoretical shortcomings of these studies were discussed. Conclusions We suggested that studies overpathologizing daily life activities are likely to prompt a dismissive appraisal of behavioral addiction research. Consequently, we proposed several roadmaps for future research in the field, centrally highlighting the need for longer tenable behavioral addiction research that shifts from a mere criteria-based approach toward an approach focusing on the psychological processes involved.
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            Toward a syndrome model of addiction: multiple expressions, common etiology.

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              Problematic internet use and problematic online gaming are not the same: findings from a large nationally representative adolescent sample.

              There is an ongoing debate in the literature whether problematic Internet use (PIU) and problematic online gaming (POG) are two distinct conceptual and nosological entities or whether they are the same. The present study contributes to this question by examining the interrelationship and the overlap between PIU and POG in terms of sex, school achievement, time spent using the Internet and/or online gaming, psychological well-being, and preferred online activities. Questionnaires assessing these variables were administered to a nationally representative sample of adolescent gamers (N=2,073; Mage=16.4 years, SD=0.87; 68.4% male). Data showed that Internet use was a common activity among adolescents, while online gaming was engaged in by a considerably smaller group. Similarly, more adolescents met the criteria for PIU than for POG, and a small group of adolescents showed symptoms of both problem behaviors. The most notable difference between the two problem behaviors was in terms of sex. POG was much more strongly associated with being male. Self-esteem had low effect sizes on both behaviors, while depressive symptoms were associated with both PIU and POG, affecting PIU slightly more. In terms of preferred online activities, PIU was positively associated with online gaming, online chatting, and social networking, while POG was only associated with online gaming. Based on our findings, POG appears to be a conceptually different behavior from PIU, and therefore the data support the notion that Internet Addiction Disorder and Internet Gaming Disorder are separate nosological entities.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó
                September 2015
                29 September 2015
                : 4
                : 3
                : 126-129
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Psychiatry Research, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm, Sweden
                Author notes
                * Corresponding address: Daniel Kardefelt-Winther; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Psychiatry Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Mobile: +447946567850; E-mail: daniel.kardefelt.winther@ 123456ki.se
                © 2015 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 29 March 2015
                : 8 April 2015
                : 12 April 2015
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 20, Pages: 4
                No financial support was received for this study.

                behavioral addictions,mental health,internet gaming disorder,internet addiction,dsm,diagnosis


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