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Internet-based interventions for behavioral addictions: A systematic review


Boumparis, Nikolaos; Haug, Severin; Abend, Stefanie; Billieux, Joël; Riper, Heleen; Schaub, Michael P (2022). Internet-based interventions for behavioral addictions: A systematic review. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 11(3):620-642.

Abstract

Background and aims

Behavioral addictions are a public health problem that causes harm to both individuals and society. Internet-based interventions offer potential benefits over face-to-face therapy for the treatment of behavioral addictions, including their accessibility, perceived anonymity, and low costs. We systematically reviewed the characteristics and effectiveness of these interventions.
Methods

A systematic literature search was conducted in: PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. A standardized methodological quality assessment was performed on all identified studies via the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool.
Results

Twenty-nine studies were assessed in this systematic review. Between them, considerable heterogeneity was noted in various study characteristics, including screening tools, inclusion criteria, and outcome measures. Attrition rates also ranged widely (9–89%), as did study quality, with three of the 29 studies rated strong, 12 moderate, and 14 weak methodologically. Twenty-two studies focused on gambling disorder, most revealing significant within-group effects for the assessed intervention on gambling-related symptoms and four of these studies identified significant between-group effects. Behavioral addictions studied in the remaining studies included gaming disorder, internet use disorder, hoarding disorder, and pornography use disorder, revealing generally-promising, albeit limited results.
Conclusions

Internet-based interventions seem promising at reducing gambling problems, but too few studies have been published, to date, for conclusions to be drawn for other behavioral addictions. Internet-based interventions targeting other behavioral addictions – like gaming disorder, internet use disorder, hoarding disorder, and pornography use disorder – remain under-examined, warranting considerable additional research to assess their effectiveness.

Abstract

Background and aims

Behavioral addictions are a public health problem that causes harm to both individuals and society. Internet-based interventions offer potential benefits over face-to-face therapy for the treatment of behavioral addictions, including their accessibility, perceived anonymity, and low costs. We systematically reviewed the characteristics and effectiveness of these interventions.
Methods

A systematic literature search was conducted in: PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. A standardized methodological quality assessment was performed on all identified studies via the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool.
Results

Twenty-nine studies were assessed in this systematic review. Between them, considerable heterogeneity was noted in various study characteristics, including screening tools, inclusion criteria, and outcome measures. Attrition rates also ranged widely (9–89%), as did study quality, with three of the 29 studies rated strong, 12 moderate, and 14 weak methodologically. Twenty-two studies focused on gambling disorder, most revealing significant within-group effects for the assessed intervention on gambling-related symptoms and four of these studies identified significant between-group effects. Behavioral addictions studied in the remaining studies included gaming disorder, internet use disorder, hoarding disorder, and pornography use disorder, revealing generally-promising, albeit limited results.
Conclusions

Internet-based interventions seem promising at reducing gambling problems, but too few studies have been published, to date, for conclusions to be drawn for other behavioral addictions. Internet-based interventions targeting other behavioral addictions – like gaming disorder, internet use disorder, hoarding disorder, and pornography use disorder – remain under-examined, warranting considerable additional research to assess their effectiveness.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychiatry and Mental health, Clinical Psychology, General Medicine, Medicine (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:26 September 2022
Deposited On:17 Oct 2022 12:42
Last Modified:17 Oct 2022 13:00
Publisher:Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN:2062-5871
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.2022.00054
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)