No significant changes in addictive and problematic behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns: a three-wave longitudinal study

Koós, M., Demetrovics, Z., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524 and Bőthe, B., 2022. No significant changes in addictive and problematic behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns: a three-wave longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 837315. ISSN 1664-1078

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Abstract

Introduction: The COVID-19 outbreak and related lockdowns brought substantial changes in people’s lives and led to concerns about possible increases of addictive behaviors at the initial stages of the pandemic. To examine these concerns, the aim of the present study was to assess longitudinal changes in addictive and problematic behaviors (i.e., problematic social media use, Internet gaming disorder, gambling disorder, problematic pornography use, and compulsive sexual behavior disorder) over time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Three waves of data collection took place in different stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in Hungary in a general population, from the first wave of lockdowns to the second and third waves of restrictions (May, 2020; NT1 = 1747; June–August, 2020; NT2 = 656; January, 2021; NT3 = 411). Latent growth curve models were calculated to assess the potential changes in addictive and problematic behaviors over time.

Results: Latent growth curve models showed that the sample varied in their initial scores, but there were no significant changes over time in any of the examined behaviors, except for compulsive sexual behavior disorder, which demonstrated a small but significant increase (i.e., positive and significant slope factor). However, the rate of this change was negligible. Overall, there were no noteworthy changes over time regarding any of the examined addictive and problematic behaviors.

Conclusion: Contrary to initial concerns, no substantial changes over time were observed regarding the examined addictive behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. These findings indicate that those who had no previous problem with these addictive behaviors, might have not developed a problem, and those who had problem with either of the behaviors previously, might have not experienced a significant increase in their symptoms.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Frontiers in Psychology
Creators: Koós, M., Demetrovics, Z., Griffiths, M.D. and Bőthe, B.
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Date: 13 April 2022
Volume: 13
ISSN: 1664-1078
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.3389/fpsyg.2022.837315DOI
1537973Other
Rights: Copyright © 2022 Koós, Demetrovics, Griffiths and Bothe. 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.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 13 Apr 2022 14:59
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 14:59
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/46127

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