About

The Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming (CERG) is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research institute that aims to study the etiological factors of addictive disorders and contribute to their effective prevention and treatment. From a basic research perspective, the CERG strives to be sensitive to the identification of new challenges emerging in modern societies, as well as reflective in handling these problems. While having a wider interest in understanding the mechanisms of the development and maintenance of addiction processes (both psychoactive substance use and behavioural addictions), the CERG is specifically focused on the study of gambling behaviour, video game use, and more generally on behaviours that are linked to recent technological developments.
In addition to specific addiction-related research, the CERG more generally focuses on studying the nature and mechanisms of risks and on identifying the mechanisms of the development of harm related to these behaviours. When examining causes and mechanisms that may lead to harmful behaviour, the CERG considers harm (physical and mental) at the individual, familial and societal level. While examining potentially harmful behaviours, the CERG’s central goal is to identify risky ways of engagement in these behaviours and to understand factors that might differentiate between harmful and non-harmful forms of these behaviours.
To achieve its goals in terms of conducting prestigious multidisciplinary (i.e., psychogenetics, cognitive neuropsychology, personality and social psychology) research, the CERG is open to collaborate with other research institutes and to participate in the work of international scientific associations, societies and networks. In addition to basic and applied research efforts, the CERG also initiates and contributes to the development of educational programmes, training, and interventions that aim to reduce harm related to gambling and video game use. To achieve these goals, the CERG also seeks to collaborate with associations involving people who gamble or play video games and aims to provide input into the responsible gambling and gaming initiatives of operators. In all of these efforts, the CERG places special emphasis on identifying interventions that aim to reduce harm, studying the effectiveness of these interventions, and supporting evidence-based best practices.

Our Team

Prof Zsolt Demetrovics
Chair
Dr Andrea Czakó
Research Manager
Dr Carrie Shaw
Senior Researcher
Dr Chanel J. Larche
Associate Researcher
Emma Gager
Administration Officer
Judith Glynn
PhD Student

International Scientific Advisory Board

  • Alex Baldacchino (University of St Andrews, United Kingdom)
  • Joel Billieux (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Matthias Brand (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky (McGill University, Canada)
  • Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)
  • David Hodgins (University of Calgary, Canada)
  • Susana Jiménez-Murcia (University of Barcelona, Spain)
  • Daniel King (Flinders University, Australia)
  • Frances R. Levin (Columbia University, USA)
  • Marc Potenza (Yale University, USA)
  • John Saunders (University of Sydney, Australia)
  • Sherry Stewart (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Wim van den Brink (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Doctoral Opportunities with CERG

Applications for this scholarship are now closed.
The Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming (CERG) at the University of Gibraltar is opening a call for applicants wishing to start their PhD studies for the academic year starting October 2021.
Successful applicants may have an interest in the etiology of problematic gambling / gambling disorder or problematic video game use / gaming disorder, and understanding the mechanisms of gambling/gaming related risks and harm.
Preferred research topics: developing assessment tools to measure individual, familial or societal harm related to gambling/gaming; gambling and women; monetization processes in video game use; psychological characteristics of esport; developing and evaluating interventions that might reduce harm related to gambling/gaming.
Interested applicants may apply as a self-funded individual or may apply for one of the scholarships below:
1) For citizens of and permanent residents in a Commonwealth country (including the UK) other than the host country Gibraltar there’s an open call for the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship. Details regarding the conditions and the application process can be found here.
2) For applicants from non-Commonwealth countries there’s a possibility to apply for a PhD scholarship funded by the CERG. Scholarships would cover tuition costs, a monthly living stipend and travel assistance.
If you are interested in applying contact Dr. Zsolt Demetrovics, Chair of the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming at Zsolt.Demetrovics@unigib.edu.gi

Research & Publications

Profile of Treatment Seeking Gaming Disorder Patients: A Network Perspective

Granero, G., Fernández-Aranda, F., Demetrovics, Z., Ayala-Rojas, R. E., Gómez-Peña, M., Moragas, L., Jiménez-Murcia, S., (2021). Profile of Treatment-Seeking Gaming Disorder Patients: a Network Perspective. Journal of Gambling Studies.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10899-021-10079-2

This study explored the network structure of correlates of gaming disorder (sociodemographic, personality and other clinical measures) in treatment-seeking patients. The network analysis carried out in this study provided insight into the structure of the main contributing factors of gaming disorder. The central nodes in the network were global psychological distress, chronological age, and age of onset of gaming related problems.

Linkage analysis also identified psychopathological status and age as the variables with the most valuable information in the model. Identification of such variables can be useful for developing precise management plans to prevent and treat gaming disorder related problems.

The information capacity of adolescent alcohol consumption indicators along a continuum of severity: A cross-national comparison of sixteen Central and Eastern European countries

Horváth, Z., Qirjako, G., Pavlova, D., Taut, D., Vaičiūnas, T., Melkumova, M., Várnai, D., Vieno, A., Demetrovics, Z., Urbán, R, Németh, Á., (2021). The information capacity of adolescent alcohol consumption indicators along a continuum of severity: A cross-national comparison of sixteen Central and Eastern European countries. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, [Epub ahead of print]

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.14679

This study aimed to examine information capacity and measurement invariance of different alcohol consumption indicators in adolescents from 16 countries of the former Soviet (Eastern) Bloc in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Data was collected as part of the 2013/2014 wave of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. The analysis measured the presence or absence of alcohol consumption in the last 30 days, lifetime drunkenness, weekly drinking frequency, and binge drinking.

Findings confirmed that adolescent alcohol consumption indicators are informative for different severity levels. In most countries, alcohol consumption in the last 30 days and lifetime drunkenness were indicative at lower severity levels, while binge drinking and weekly drinking frequency were informative at higher levels of alcohol use severity. Different indicators suggested the presence of diverging drinking cultures in the CEE countries.

Gambling in Canada During the COVID Lockdown: Prospective National Survey

Shaw, C.A., Hodgins, D.C., Williams, R.J. et al. (2021). Gambling in Canada During the COVID Lockdown: Prospective National Survey. Journal of Gambling Studies (2021).

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10899-021-10073-8

This study aimed to investigate the extent to which the COVID pandemic lockdown influenced gambling and problem gambling in Canada. The re-surveying of AGRI National project’s online panel participants (n=3449) allowed for a quantitative comparison of gambling behaviours during the pandemic relative to six months prior. Findings showed that nearly one-third of gamblers ceased gambling completely during the lockdown. Whereas for those who continued, gambling decreased across nearly all engagements metrics including gambling frequency, time spent in gambling sessions, money spent, and the number of game types engaged in.

Over 17% of participants migrated from pre-pandemic land based gambling to online gambling during the lockdown. Further studies are required to assess if these changes herein remain stable or revert to pre-pandemic levels.

Polysubstance Use Is Positively Associated with Gaming Disorder Symptom Severity: A Latent Class Analytical Study

Horváth, Z., Király, O., Demetrovics, Z., Németh, Á., Várnai, D., & Urbán, R. (2021). Polysubstance Use Is Positively Associated with Gaming Disorder Symptom Severity: A Latent Class Analytical Study. European Addiction Research, 1-11. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34284387/]

 

The aim of the present study was to explore alcohol and illicit drug use classes among adolescents and how gaming disorder is associated with these. The final sample consisted of 2768 students (ninth and eleventh graders), with a mean age of 16.73 years. Four subgroups were identified: polysubstance users, high-risk alcohol users, moderate alcohol users, and infrequent substance users. Based on the results severe gaming disorder was associated with various drug use, which may be due to the intention to increase performance in the game. There may be common psychological mechanisms in the background (e.g., sensation-seeking tendencies), and shared neurobiological mechanisms may also explain the relationship. The level of alcohol consumption did not correlate with the severity of the symptoms of gaming disorder.

The moderating role of coping mechanisms and being an e-sport player between psychiatric symptoms and gaming disorder: Online survey.

Bányai, F., Zsila, Á., Kökönyei, G., Griffiths, M. D., Demetrovics, Z., Király, O., (2021). The moderating role of coping mechanisms and being an e-sport player between psychiatric symptoms and gaming disorder: Online survey. JMIR Mental Health, 8(3):e21115  [https://mental.jmir.org/2021/3/e21115/PDF]

 

This study aimed to investigate the effect of coping strategies and type of videogame usage (i.e., professional/esport vs. recreational use) on the relationship between psychiatric symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety) and videogame addiction. The results showed that there is a moderately strong relation between psychiatric symptoms and videogame addiction and that neither coping strategies, nor the type of videogame usage have a considerable effect on this relation.

Autism, Problematic Internet Use, and Gaming Disorder: A Systematic Review.

Murray, A., Koronczai, B., Király, O., Griffiths, M. D., Mannion, A., Leader, G., Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Autism, Problematic Internet Use, and Gaming Disorder: A Systematic Review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, in press [https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s40489-021-00243-0.pdf]

 

This literature review investigated the relationship between autism and problematic internet use and videogame addiction. A systematic literature search was conducted, and 21 studies were identified examining this question. The majority of the studies found a weak or moderate relationship between internet addiction and autistic-like traits and a relationship with varying strength between internet addiction and clinically diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. Additionally, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder were more likely to exhibit symptoms of videogame addiction, however there is a lack of studies investigating the relationship between autistic-like traits and videogame addiction.

Psychometric properties of the nine-item Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire in a Brazilian general population sample.

Spritzer, D. T., Machado, W. D., Yates, M. B., Astolfi, W., Laskoski, P. B., Pessi, C. P., Laconi, S., Kaliszewska-Czeremska, K., Demetrovics, Z., Király, O., Passos, I. C., Hauck, S. (2021). Psychometric properties of the nine-item Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire in a Brazilian general population sample. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12:660186 [https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.660186/full]

 

This study aimed to adapt and examine the psychometric properties of the Brazilian version of the Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire (PIUQ-SF-9) in the framework of a multicentric project carried out in 16 countries investigating the cross-cultural aspects of problematic internet and smartphone use. The PIUQ-SF-9 is the short form of the original 18-item PIUQ developed by Demetrovics et al., 2008. It is a nine-item comprehensive screening tool assessing three basic areas of problematic internet use: obsession (i.e., preoccupation and withdrawal symptoms); neglect (i.e., negligence of everyday activities and basic needs); and control disorder (i.e., trouble in controlling internet use). The sample consisted of Brazilian Internet users between the ages of 18 and 89. According to the results the Brazilian Portuguese version of the PIUQ-SF-9 proved to be a valid and reliable instrument to be used in future studies on problematic internet use in Brazil.

Individual Differences in the Association Between Celebrity Worship and Subjective Well-Being: The Moderating Role of Gender and Age.

Zsila, Á., Orosz, G., McCutcheon, L. E., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Individual differences in the association between celebrity worship and subjective well-being: The moderating role of gender and age. Frontiers in Psychology12, 1749. [https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.651067/full]

 

This study aimed to explore the association between celebrity worship and well-being based on major demographics using the largest sample size for this topic. By exploring individual differences in this association some specific subgroups of fans have been identified that may need particular attention in mental health care. The sample consisted of Hungarian adults aged 18 to 79 years. They were categorized into two groups based upon whether their gender matched with the gender of their favourite celebrity (opposite-gender celebrity worship / same-gender celebrity worship). Women with higher levels of celebrity admiration were more likely to report lower self-esteem than men. Younger individuals with higher levels of celebrity worship experienced more frequent daytime sleepiness compared to older individuals. Gender-based selection of a favourite celebrity had no specific role in the association between celebrity worship and subjective well-being. These results indicate that there is a generally weak but consistent tendency that the stronger the worship of celebrities, the poorer the mental well-being.

Who complies with coronavirus disease 2019 precautions and who does not?

Urbán, R., Király, O. & Demetrovics, Zs. (2021). Who complies with coronavirus disease 2019 precautions and who does not? Current Opinion in Psychiatry (online ahead of print) [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34001700/]

 

This study aims to examine on the determinants of adherence behaviours (e.g., the use of a face mask and protective gloves, personal hygienic behaviours, keeping physical distance and avoiding social gatherings), as the most important tools to prevent SARS/COVID-19 virus transmission. Based on previous studies, there are specific populations that are particularly vulnerable to COVID, such as people with behavioural and mental disorders and recently diagnosed substance users. These populations might be at bigger risk, compared to people with chronic conditions, so a high degree of adherence to preventive behaviours is required from patients, caregivers, and the wider social environment.

There are factors, which determine the adherence to preventive behaviours. These can be  for example gender (males less likely to behave as recommended) and  age (younger people tend to feel safer, and consequently less likely to avoid social gatherings). Developing ways of engaging men and young people in adopting preventive behaviours and emphasizing the severity of the illness is important. Further research is needed to understand the vulnerable populations’ determinants of adherence behaviour.

Education

Funding and Conflict of Interest Statement

The University of Gibraltar receives funding from the Gibraltar GamblingCare Foundation, which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation and registered charity (no.320). This funding aims to support the launching and development of the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming at the University as well as to contribute to the efforts of the University to conduct scientific research on problematic gambling. The Foundation, however, fully respects the academic independence of the University of Gibraltar and its specific research goals.  It fully recognises it is for the University solely to determine the research study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the content or writing of manuscripts, and any other way the research results are communicated.

Events

Title: Habits Die Hard: From learning to addiction
Speaker: Prof Dezső Németh – ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest / Université Claude Bernard, Lyon
Date: 27th September 2021
Time: 18.00 – 19.30 (CET)
Title: ADHD and comorbid substance use, gambling and gaming disorders
Speaker: Prof Wim van den Brink – University of Amsterdam
Date: 25th October 2021
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Title: Norway – A Special Example of Responsible Gambling
Speaker: Prof Ståle Pallesen – University of Bergen
Date: 10th November 2021
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Selection of third-party events:
Title: Drug and Behavioural Addictions: COVID-19 and Beyond
Virtual Symposium hosted by the Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre (SARIC)
Date: 7th July 2021
recorded presentations

Contact CERG for more information

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