BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Gaming disorder has experienced rapid growth in the last decade among youth and adult populations, in parallel to the expansion of the videogame industry. The objective of this study was to explore the underlying process to explain the dual diagnosis of gaming with gambling disorder.
METHODS: The sample included n = 117 patients who met clinical criteria for gaming disorder, recruited from a tertiary care unit specialized in the treatment of behavioral addictions. Path analysis (implemented through structural equation modeling) assessed the direct and mediational mechanisms between the dual condition of gaming + gambling disorder and sociodemographic variables and personality traits.
RESULTS: The comorbid gaming + gambling disorder was met for 14.5% of the participants (additionally, 6.0% of the sample also met criteria for problematic gambling). The dual diagnosis was directly related to an older age at onset of the addiction problems, a higher level of the novelty seeking trait and being in active work. Employment status also mediated the relationship between persistence levels and chronological age. Greater psychopathological distress was related to females, higher levels of harm avoidance and persistence and lower levels of self-directedness.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study provide empirical evidence for the specific factors that increase the likelihood of the dual gaming + gambling disorder. Clinical settings should consider these features to improve gaming diagnosis and treatment. Preventive programs should also be focused on the most vulnerable groups to prevent onset and progression of this comorbid condition.