About this Research Topic
Behavioral addictions are types of addiction that involve a compulsion towards a rewarding, non-substance-related behavior despite any negative consequences to the person's physical, mental, social or financial well-being. While behavioral addictions are increasingly considered in current psychiatric nosology, the only categories that have been officially recognized are gambling disorder and, more recently, gaming disorder. However, a vast amount of literature also identified food, sex, internet, mobile phone, exercise, and shopping, among others, as potentially addictive.
Available studies suggest that a wide range of demographic (e.g., age, gender, and socio-economic status) and psychological variables (e.g., personality traits, attachment styles, and cognitive variables) act as risk or protective factors for the development of behavioral addictions. Although behavioral addictions have received increasing attention recently, available data on adolescents and young adults that are more prone to engage in different risky behaviors than adults are relatively scarce.
In particular, recent studies on the neural basis of risky decision-making during adolescence have shown that frontal regions implicated in reward-related regulatory processes end their development later than subcortical limbic regions that are more linked to the regulation of emotional stimuli and reward. This delay causes a cortical-subcortical asynchrony that may manifest behaviorally through a failure in impulse control leading to poor decision-making and in the engagement of addictive behaviors.
This research topic aims to develop a better understanding of the factors that foster the development and maintenance of behavioral addictions in adolescence and young adulthood, which may serve to inform effective prevention measures and appropriate treatments. We welcome manuscripts on any kind of behavioral addictions, supported by methodologically sound research engaging valid and reliable procedures.
A main focus is given to research investigating cognitive and personality factors in behavioral addictions among adolescents and emerging adults outlining a complex set of cognitive mechanisms, including poor decision making; strongly biased and faulty cognitive schemas on attribution, personal abilities, and control over outcome; distorted perceptions; superstition, as well as maladaptive or dysfunctional personality traits, such as impulsivity; alexithymia; antagonism and withdrawal.
Keywords: Behavioral addictions, cognitive variables, personality, adolescents, young adults
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