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      Why and how to include parents in the treatment of adolescents presenting Internet gaming disorder?

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          Background and aims

          Clinicians and researchers are increasingly interested in investigating excessive use of video gaming recently named Internet gaming disorder (IGD). As is the case with extensively researched adolescent problem behaviors such as substance use disorder, several studies associate IGD with the young person’s family environment and the parent–adolescent relationship in particular. Evidence-based treatments for a range of adolescent clinical problems including behavioral addictions demonstrate efficacy, the capacity for transdiagnostic adaptation, and lasting impact. However, less attention has been paid to developing and testing science-based interventions for IGD, and at present most tested interventions for IGD have been individual treatments (cognitive behavioral therapy).


          This article presents the rationale for a systemic conceptualization of IGD and a therapeutic approach that targets multiple units or subsystems. The IGD treatment program is based on the science-supported multidimensional family therapy approach (MDFT). Following treatment development work, the MDFT approach has been adapted for IGD.


          The article discusses recurring individual and family-based clinical themes and therapeutic responses in the MDFT-IGD clinical model, which tailors interventions for individuals and subsystems within the young person’s family.

          Discussion and conclusions

          Basic science developmental research can inform conceptualization of IGD and a systemic logic model of intervention and change. This paper aims to expand treatment theorizing and intervention approaches for practitioners working with frequently life-altering behaviors of excessive Internet gaming. We operationalize this aim by addressing the question of why and how parents should be involved in youth IGD treatment.

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          Most cited references 140

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          We Know Some Things: Parent-Adolescent Relationships in Retrospect and Prospect

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            Relation of the therapeutic alliance with outcome and other variables: A meta-analytic review.

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              The adolescent brain.

              Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by suboptimal decisions and actions that give rise to an increased incidence of unintentional injuries and violence, alcohol and drug abuse, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Traditional neurobiological and cognitive explanations for adolescent behavior have failed to account for the nonlinear changes in behavior observed during adolescence, relative to childhood and adulthood. This review provides a biologically plausible conceptualization of the neural mechanisms underlying these nonlinear changes in behavior, as a heightened responsiveness to incentives while impulse control is still relatively immature during this period. Recent human imaging and animal studies provide a biological basis for this view, suggesting differential development of limbic reward systems relative to top-down control systems during adolescence relative to childhood and adulthood. This developmental pattern may be exacerbated in those adolescents with a predisposition toward risk-taking, increasing the risk for poor outcomes.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                31 May 2019
                June 2019
                : 8
                : 2
                : 201-212
                [1 ]Université de Paris, LPPS , F-92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France
                [2 ]Centre Pierre Nicole, Consultation Jeunes Consommateurs, Croix-Rouge Française , Paris, France
                [3 ]Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami , Coral Gables, FL, USA
                [4 ]Clinique Dupré, Fondation Santé des étudiants de France, Sceaux, Hauts de Seine, France
                [5 ]Centre Phénix Mail, Fondation Phénix , Geneva, Switzerland
                [6 ]Unité Inserm CESP U1018 , Paris 5, France
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Céline Bonnaire; Université de Paris, LPPS, F-92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France; Phone: +33 1 76 53 29 52; E-mail: celine.bonnaire@
                © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 135, Pages: 12
                Funding sources: None.
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