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Title: Exploring the associations between reward disturbances, Internet addiction and depression
Author: Bishop, Phillip
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 7555
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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A review of the literature on the relationship between Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) and depression was conducted; a total of 22 papers met inclusion criteria. The review was structured by three questions: 1) Is there an association between IGD and depression? 2) What mediators and moderators may be involved in this relationship? 3) Is there any evidence to suggest causal pathways? The majority of the reviewed research identified an association between IGD and depression. Some potential mediators and moderators were identified, including self-esteem and loneliness, although methodological limitations restricted the inferences that could be drawn from the findings. The research is still in its infancy and more sophisticated research methods are required to further understand the nature of the association between IGD and depression. A quasi-experimental design was used to explore the proposed association between reward disturbances, internet addiction and depression. Specifically, it was hypothesised that the internet addict group would experience reduced ‘liking’ of positive stimuli and increased ‘wanting’ of internet stimuli, whilst being less motivated to obtain reward in comparison with controls. The internet addiction group reported significantly higher depression scores, however there were no differences in groups’ ‘liking’ of stimuli, yet the internet addiction group reported greater arousal overall. There were no between group differences for motivation, although within group correlations revealed that for the internet addiction group there was a dissociation between ‘liking’ of rewards and motivation to obtain them; there was also a positive correlation between BDI-II scores and motivation. These findings were not in line with hypotheses, and may suggest that the internet addiction group experience greater reward sensitivity, and are therefore drawn to internet use to satiate this heightened rewardsensitivity; or that internet addiction may serve as a form of experiential avoidance, thus potentially maintaining depression.
Supervisor: Brignell, Catherine ; Garner, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available