The need for a behavioural analysis of behavioural addictions


This review discusses research on behavioural addictions (i.e. associative learning, conditioning), with reference to contemporary models of substance addiction and ongoing controversies in the behavioural addictions literature. The role of behaviour has been well explored in substance addictions and gambling but this focus is often absent in other candidate behavioural addictions. In contrast, the standard approach to behavioural addictions has been to look at individual differences, psychopathologies and biases, often translating from pathological gambling indicators. An associative model presently captures the core elements of behavioural addiction included in the DSM (gambling) and identified for further consideration (internet gaming). Importantly, gambling has a schedule of reinforcement that shows similarities and differences from other addictions. While this is more likely than not applicable to internet gaming, it is less clear whether it is so for a number of candidate behavioural addictions. Adopting an associative perspective, this paper translates from gambling to video gaming, in light of the existing debates on this matter and the nature of the distinction between these behaviours. Finally, a framework for applying an associative model to behavioural addictions is outlined, and it's application toward treatment.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
Funding Information: This work was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/J500100/1) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/G037574/1).
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Clinical Psychology,Psychiatry and Mental health
Publication ISSN: 1873-7811
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2024 07:35
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 10:23
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.sci ... 3798?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Review article
Published Date: 2017-03-01
Published Online Date: 2016-12-02
Accepted Date: 2016-12-01
Authors: James, Richard J.E.
Tunney, Richard J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4673-757X)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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