Online Gambling Just Part Of "The New Addiction"


Dormant account
May 7, 2004
In a ground-breaking study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that more than one in eight Americans displayed at least one possible indication of problematic Internet use. This latest report supports other studies that concluded that a significant number of the the U.S. population may be suffering some form of addiction to the Internet.

Published in the medical journal CNS Spectrums: The International Journal of Neuropsychiatric Medicine, contributors to the paper said that Our telephone survey suggests that potential markers of problematic Internet use are present in a sizeable portion of the population.

Elias Aboujaoude is the director of Stanfords Impulse Control Disorders Clinic and the lead author of the paper. He said that a small yet increasing number of Internet users are consulting medical experts for advice on dealing with the amount of time they spend unnecessarily surfing the web. Aboujaoude went on to say that some patients compulsively use the Internet to check their e-mail, write blog entries, visit the same Web sites or chat online. This is similar to what sufferers of impulse-control disorders and substance abusers experience, namely a repetitive and somewhat irresistible urge to act in a way that may be pleasurable at that moment but may lead to a significant problem at a personal and professional levels.

We often focus on how wonderful the Internet is and how simple and efficient it can make things, said Aboujaoude. But we need to consider the fact that it creates real problems for a subset of people.

Interestingly enough the typical individual most likely to exhibit these conditions is a single white male in his 30s, with a college education, who spends around 30 hours a week on "non-essential" internet use.

Aboujaoude was quick to stress that viewing pornography was just one part of the problem. Online pornography and, to some degree, online gambling, have received the most attention, but users are as likely to use other sites, including chat rooms, shopping venues and special-interest Web sites.

There is a great commercial awareness of just how many Americans surf the internet. The generally agreed figure of 160 million regular Internet users is an important one for those businesses and individuals who use the internet for commerce in some way. But there is little research on problematic Internet use.

In 1999 the Center for Internet Studies surveyed 18,000 Internet users and found that 5.7 percent met suggested criteria for compulsive Internet use.

A 2002 study that was published in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior indicated that 60 percent of companies surveyed had disciplined employees for inappropriate Internet use, and more than 30 percent had terminated employees for doing so.

The issue is starting to be recognized as a legitimate object of clinical attention, as well as an economic problem, given that a great deal of non-essential Internet use takes place at work, said Aboujaoude. He also added that there is still no overwhelming consensus amongst medical experts on whether "problematic" Internet use is a disorder within itself or just an expression of other psychopathologies, such as an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In the Stanford study, the researchers interviewed 2,513 adults as part of a nation-wide survey. There is not a generally accepted screening instrument for problematic Internet use so the researchers developed their own questions by extending application of existing questions from other compulsive and addictive conditions.

The researchers found that:

68.9 % were regular Internet users (something consistent with previous studies)

13.7 % ( more than one out of eight respondents ) found it hard to stay away from the Internet for several days at a time

12.4 % stayed online longer than intended very often or often

12.3 % had seen a need to cut back on Internet use at some point

8.7 % attempted to conceal non-essential Internet use from family, friends and employers

8.2 % used the Internet as a way to escape problems or relieve negative mood

5.9 % felt their relationships suffered as a result of excessive Internet use

Aboujaoude said he found most concerning the number or respondents who "hid" their nonessential Internet use or used the Internet to escape a negative mood. "This is much in the same way that alcoholics might do so. In a sense, theyre using the Internet to self-medicate."

"Obviously something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their Internet activity.

Source: Stanford University School of Medicine, 2006
Anyone else remember a similar study with similar results oh-so-many years ago about... television??
Thought it had a familiar ring LOL!

Actually this Stanford study has been knocking around the Internet for some months, being widely quoted by several industries and ridden almost to death by the mainstream media, attracted I presume by the trigger words "addictive" and "Internet" which always seems to rev the media engine.

It's not an especially large study base (see below) to attract the widespread amount of coverage it has, although the respected name Stanford would lend it additional legs I guess.

In the Stanford study, the researchers interviewed 2 513 adults as part of a nation-wide survey. There is not a generally accepted screening instrument for problematic Internet use so the researchers developed their own questions by extending application of existing questions from other compulsive and addictive conditions. Unquote

One point for it is that it reminds the online gambling industry in particular that there has yet to be a definitive study on the relationship between the Internet and online gambling addictions/problems. There's a lot of research work on traditional gambling and its addictive potential, but nothing of significance yet on the ten year old online gambling phenomenom.

It's an area that needs to be explored urgently, because at present most opponents and protagonists alike are using land gambling stats to prove their points.

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