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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02184

Problematic gaming and internet use but not gambling may be overrepresented in sexual minorities – a pilot population web survey study

  • 1Lund University, Sweden

Substance-related addictive disorders are known to be overrepresented in non-heterosexual individuals, but it is largely unknown whether this is also the case for behavioural addictions such as problem gaming and gambling. This study aimed, in a pilot web survey design, to assess whether problematic gambling, gaming and internet use may be more common in sexual minorities.

An online survey was distributed through media and social media, and answered by 604 individuals (51% women, 11% non-heterosexual). Problem gambling, problem gaming and problematic internet use were measured through structured screening instruments (the CLiP, the GAS and the PRIUSS, respectively).

Problem gaming and problematic internet use were significantly more prevalent in non-heterosexual subjects. Instead, problem gambling did not differ between heterosexual and non-heterosexual respondents. Psychological distress and social media use for more than three hours daily were significantly more common in non-heterosexual respondents. In the overall sample, gaming and gambling were associated statistically.

Based on the present pilot online survey, problematic gaming and internet use, but not problem gambling, may be more common in sexual minorities. This area merits more and larger studies, and potentially preventive efforts aimed for non-heterosexual individuals in the population. Possible explanations and study limitations are discussed in the paper.

Keywords: Internet gaming disorder, gambling disorder, Internet addiction, sexual minorities, problem gaming, problem gambling, Behavioural addictions

Received: 13 Jul 2018; Accepted: 23 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Roberto Cattivelli, Istituto Auxologico Italiano (IRCCS), Italy

Reviewed by:

Eleonora Volpato, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus (IRCCS), Italy
Vasileios Stavropoulos, Cairnmillar Institute, Australia  

Copyright: © 2018 ¨Broman and Hakansson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Anders Hakansson, Lund University, Lund, 221 00, Skane County, Sweden,