Commonalities in the psychological factors associated with problem gambling and internet dependence

Abstract

The most commonly applied conceptual approach for excessive Internet use has been as a behavioral addiction, similar to pathological or problem gambling. In order to contribute to the understanding of Internet dependence as a disorder resembling problem gambling, the current study aimed to examine the relationship between problem gambling and Internet dependence and the degree to which psychological factors associated with problem gambling are relevant to the study of Internet dependence. The factors of depression, anxiety, student stressors, loneliness, and social support were examined in a sample of university students from several Australian universities. The findings revealed that there is no overlap between the populations reporting problem gambling and Internet dependence, but that individuals with these disorders report similar psychological profiles. Although requiring replication with larger community samples and longitudinal designs, these preliminary findings suggest that problem gambling and Internet dependence may be separate disorders with common underlying etiologies or consequences. The implications of the findings in relation to the conceptualization and management of these disorders are briefly discussed.

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