The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is one of the premier centres for research related to substance use and addiction. This research began more than 50 years ago with the Addiction Research Foundation (ARF), an organization that contributed significantly to knowledge about the aetiology, treatment and prevention of substance use, addiction and related harm. After the merger of the ARF with three other institutions in 1998, research on substance use continued, with an additional focus on comorbid substance use and other mental health disorders. In the present paper, we describe the structure of funding and organization and selected current foci of research. We argue for the continuation of this successful model of integrating basic, epidemiological, clinical, health service and prevention research under the roof of a health centre.
Data were collected for 1998 middle/high-school students in Ontario to assess involvement in gambling, substance use, and generalized risky behavior. To predict these outcomes, measures for anxiety, family cohesion, and coping style were also administered. Three a-priori models were posited to account for the impact of risk factors, protective factors, and combined risk/protective factors on the development of risky behaviors. A high-risk cohort composed of subjects endorsing at least one risky behavior (gambling, substance use, or generalized risky behavior) within the clinical range was created to test an unobserved outcome variable created from all three measures of risky behavior, which was successfully predicted by two of the three a-priori models. Implications for the inclusion of gambling within a constellation of high-risk behaviors and recommendations for future prevention efforts are discussed.
The purpose of the following study was to explore certain affective and cognitive components and their relationships to gambling behavior in an undergraduate population. Specifically, the aim was to predict gambling severity using depression scores on the BDI-II, the dependency and self-criticism subscales on the DEQ, emotional awareness scores on the LEAS, cognitive flexibility scores from the STROOP, and a creativity subtests from the TTCT. Participants were 200 undergraduate students and 3.5-7.5% of individuals reported some level of problematic gambling behavior. Multiple regression analysis indicated that self-criticism and creative originality were significant predictors of gambling behavior, explaining 7.6% of the variance. Further analyses reveal a non-linear trend in the creative originality of those who gamble; only the at-risk gamblers were high in creativity whereas abstainers and problematic gamblers display similarly lower levels of creativity. Results are discussed in regards to Blaszczynski and Nower's Addiction 97:487-499 (2002) subtypes of gambling vulnerability.
Alcohol policies around the world seek to delay the initiation of drinking. This is partly based on the influential idea that earlier initiation is likely to cause adult alcohol problems. This study synthesises robust evidence for this proposition.
Systematic review of prospective cohort studies in which adolescent measurement of age of first drink in general population studies was separated by at least 3 years from adult alcohol outcomes. EMBASE, Medline, PsychINFO and Social Policy and Practice were searched for eligible studies, alongside standard non-database data collection activities. Data were extracted on included study methods and findings. Risk of bias and confounding was assessed for individual studies and a narrative synthesis of findings was performed.
The main finding was the meagre evidence base available. Only five studies were eligible for inclusion in this review. The existence of effects of age of first drink on adult drinking and related problems were supported, but not at all strongly, in some included studies, and not in others. Rigorous control for confounding markedly attenuates or eliminates any observed effects.
There is no strong evidence that starting drinking earlier leads to adult alcohol problems and more research is needed to address this important question. Policy makers should, therefore, reconsider the justification for delaying initiation as a strategy to address levels of adult alcohol problems in the general population, while also addressing the serious acute harms produced by early drinking.
Cites: Am J Psychiatry. 2000 May;157(5):745-5010784467
This study tests the hypothesis that problem gamblers are more prone to have irrational beliefs and depressed mood than non-gamblers. Irrational beliefs refer to fallacious opinions about probabilities. Gamblers like to believe that chance games (i.e., roulette and lottery) can be controlled and that the outcome of such games is dependent on the patterns of previous outcomes. The empirical material consists of responses to a survey that 302 individuals have answered. Half of the respondents were deemed to be problem gamblers. The results showed that compared to the controls, the problem gamblers were more inclined to show illusion of control due to their skill and reported more depressive mood. The results are discussed in terms of difficulties to know the "hen and the egg" regarding depressive mood, and in terms of intermittent reinforcement to continue gambling.
Occasional smokers represent an important segment of all smokers and have been described to be a heterogeneous group in terms of past experience and likelihood of maintaining nondaily smoking behavior.
In the prospective Ontario Tobacco Survey, 408 occasional smokers were followed for a year. Characteristics of subgroups of occasional smokers, as suggested by previous literature, were studied for personal and smoking behavior group differences. Agglomerative hierarchical clustering was also used to empirically identify subgroups of occasional smokers using average linkage. Smoking status at 1-year follow-up was examined overall and by the identified subgroups to determine if any were useful predictors of persistent status as nondaily smoking and likelihood of smoking cessation.
Significant differences were seen among the subgroups of occasional smokers suggested in previous studies including the number of quit attempts, setting a firm quit date, and whether or not participants cared others knew they smoked in descriptive analyses. Exploratory cluster analysis suggested 4 clusters of occasional smokers based on differences in age, perceived addiction, and history of daily smoking. Subgroups based on participants' history of smoking, self-reported addiction level, and empirically identified cluster subgroups resulted in significant differences of smoking status at 1-year follow-up.
This study suggests that occasional smokers may be a heterogeneous group with different subgroups characterized by age, accumulated smoking experience and smoking pattern, as well as factors associated with the likelihood of quitting altogether, over time, and perceived addiction.
An association between psychoactive agents and different types of personality disorders and criminal behavior was studied in 240 men aged 10-33 years. Based on the data of a clinical-psychopathological method used in the combination with statistical data analysis adjusted for the age of patients, the authors conclude that a personality disorder is a strong predictor of addiction and criminal behavior.
The aim of the present study was to investigate associations between problematic gaming and psychiatric symptoms among adolescents. Data from adolescents in the SALVe cohort, including adolescents in Västmanland who were born in 1997 and 1999 (N=1868; 1034 girls), and data from consecutive adolescent psychiatric outpatients in Västmanland (N=242; 169 girls) were analyzed. Adolescents self-rated on the Gaming Addiction Identification Test (GAIT), Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Adolescent version (ASRS-A), Depression Self-Rating Scale Adolescent version (DSRS-A), Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS), and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed, and adjusted for sex, age, study population, school bullying, family maltreatment, and interactions by sex, with two-way interactions between psychiatric measurements. Boys had higher self-rated problematic gaming in both samples, whereas girls self-rated higher in all psychiatric domains. Boys had more than eight times the probability, odds ratio (OR), of having problematic gaming. Symptoms of ADHD, depression and anxiety were associated with ORs of 2.43 (95% CI 1.44-4.11), 2.47 (95% CI 1.44-4.25), and 2.06 (95% CI 1.27-3.33), respectively, in relation to coexisting problematic gaming. Problematic gaming was associated with psychiatric symptoms in adolescents; when problematic gaming is considered, the probability of coexisting psychiatric symptoms should also be considered, and vice versa.
The aim of this study was to test the validity of the Finnish version of the Internet Addiction Test and the correlates of harmful use of the Internet.
One thousand eight hundred and twenty-five students (45.5% men and 54.5% women, mean age 24.7 years, S.D.=5.7) filled in a web-based questionnaire including IAT, reasons for use of the Internet, distress, social support, and substance use.
Men had a statistically significantly higher mean score on the IAT than women. Subjects with self-reported use of cannabis had higher mean score on the IAT compared to non-users (39.5 [11.3] vs 35.8 [10.8]). The total IAT score was associated with "adult entertainment" (OR=1.07, 95%CI: 1.06-1.08, P
Information about public gambling attitudes and gambling participation is crucial for the effective prevention of gambling-related harm. This study investigates female and male attitudes towards gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related harm in the Finnish population aged 15-74.
Cross-sectional random sample data were collected in 2011 (n?=?4484) and 2015 (n?=?4515). The data were weighted based on gender, age and region of residence. Attitudes were measured using the Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale (ATGS-8). Gambling-related harms were studied using the Problem Gambling Severity Index and the South Oaks Gambling Screen.
Attitudes towards gambling became more positive from 2011 to 2015. Female attitudes were generally negative, but nonetheless moved in a positive direction except in age groups under 25. Occasional gambling increased among women aged 18-24. Women aged 18-24 and 45-54 experienced more harms in 2015 than in 2011. Both land and online gambling increased among women aged 65-74. Male attitudes towards gambling were generally positive, and became more positive from 2011 to 2015 in all age groups except 15-17. Weekly gambling decreased among males aged 15-17. Gambling overall increased among males aged 18-24. Gambling several times a week decreased among men aged 35-44 and 45-54, and gambling 1-3 times a month increased in the latter age group. Online gambling increased only among men aged 55-64.
Attitudes towards gambling became more positive in all except the youngest age groups. Under-age male gambling continued to decrease. We need to make decision-makers better aware of the continuing growth of online gambling among older people and women's increasing experiences of gambling-related harm. This is vital to ensure more effective prevention.
Cites: Am J Psychiatry. 1987 Sep;144(9):1184-83631315