Skip to main content

A Behavior Analytic Perspective on Treatment of Problem Gaming and Problem Social Media Use


To characterize treatment studies for some forms of problematic internet use and identify ways behavior analysts might contribute, we reviewed published treatment studies for two subtypes of problematic internet use, problem gaming and problem social media use. Our search identified 41 treatment studies for problem gaming and none for problem social media use. Problem gaming treatment studies used a range of pharmaceutical, psychotherapeutic, and other treatment approaches and a variety of methods to measure problem gaming. None of the treatment approaches were primarily behavior analytic. Because there is no published research that focuses in particular on treating problem social media use, any research on interventions for problem social media use would be a novel contribution. Behavior analytic approaches could help to clarify the mechanisms involved in gaming, social media use, and related behaviors, and to differentiate problematic from healthy use. Behavior analysts could also contribute to this field by recording response patterns directly, developing standardized functional assessment questionnaires, and applying functional analysis to problem gaming and problem social media use. This is an emerging area of study that presents many opportunities for behavior-analytic research and practice.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5


  • Aalbers, G., McNally, R. J., Heeren, A., De Wit, S., & Fried, E. I. (2019). Social media and depression symptoms: A network perspective. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(8), 1454–1462.

  • Adams, T. G., Brady, R. E., Lohr, J. M., & Jacobs, W. J. (2015). A meta-analysis of CBT components for anxiety disorders. The Behavior Therapist, 38(4), 87–97.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allgulander, C., Florea, I., & Huusom, A. K. T. (2006). Prevention of relapse in generalized anxiety disorder by escitalopram treatment. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 9(5), 495–505.

  • American Psychological Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). (DSM-5). 

  • Bae, H., & Kim, D. (2012). Desensitization of triggers and urge reprocessing for an adolescent with internet addiction disorder. Journal of EMDR Practice & Research, 6(2), 73–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bae, S., Hong, J. S., Kim, S. M., & Han, D. H. (2018). Bupropion shows different effects on brain functional connectivity in patients with internet-based gambling disorder and internet gaming disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 130.

  • Bail, C. A., Argyle, L. P., Brown, T. W., Bumpus, J. P., Chen, H., Hunzaker, M. F., Lee, J., Mann, M., Merhout, F., & Volfovsky, A. (2018). Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(37), 9216–9221.

  • Best, P., Manktelow, R., & Taylor, B. (2014). Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Children & Youth Services Review, 41, 27–36.

  • Cassell, W. A., & Dubey, B. L. (1998). Mental disorders triggered by exposure to violent imagery in the media and in electronic games. SIS Journal of Projective Psychology & Mental Health, 5(2), 87–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cheever, N. A., Rosen, L. D., Carrier, L. M., & Chavez, A. (2014). Out of sight is not out of mind: The impact of restricting wireless mobile device use on anxiety levels among low, moderate and high users. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 290–297.

  • Chóliz, M., Echeburúa, E., & Ferre, F. (2017). Screening tools for technological addictions: A Proposal for the strategy of mental health. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 15(2), 423–433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coffey, A. L., Shawler, L. A., Jessel, J., Nye, M. L., Bain, T. A., & Dorsey, M. F. (2020). Interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA): Novel interpretations and future directions. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 13(1), 217–225.

  • Critchfield, T. S., Tucker, J. A., & Vuchinich, R. E. (1998). Self-report methods. In K. A. Lattal & M. Perone (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in human operant behavior (pp. 435–470). Springer.

  • Dallery, J., & Raiff, B. R. (2011). Contingency management in the 21st century: Technological innovations to promote smoking cessation. Substance Use & Misuse, 46(1), 10–22.

  • David, P., Kim, J. H., Brickman, J. S., Ran, W., & Curtis, C. M. (2015). Mobile phone distraction while studying. New Media & Society, 17(10), 1661–1679.

  • Delfabbro, P. (2013). Problem and pathological gambling: A conceptual review. Journal of Gambling Business & Economics, 7(3), 35–53.

  • Delfabbro, P., & King, D. (2017). Prevention paradox logic and problem gambling: Does low-risk gambling impose a greater burden of harm than high-risk gambling? Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6(2), 163–167.

  • Dhir, A., Yossatorn, Y., Kaur, P., & Chen, S. (2018). Online social media fatigue and psychological wellbeing: A study of compulsive use, fear of missing out, fatigue, anxiety and depression. International Journal of Information Management, 40, 141–152.

  • DiSalvo, B. J., & Bruckman, A. (2009). Questioning video games’ influence on CS interest. Proceedings of the International Conference on Foundations of Digital Games 4, 272–278.

  • Dixon, M. R. (2007). Why behavior analysts should study gambling behavior. Analysis of Gambling Behavior, 1(1), 1–4.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dixon, M. R., & Johnson, T. E. (2007). The gambling functional assessment (GFA): An assessment device for identification of the maintaining variables of pathological gambling. Analysis of Gambling Behavior, 1(1), 44–49.

    Google Scholar 

  • Du, Y. S., Jiang, W., & Vance, A. (2010). Longer term effect of randomized, controlled group cognitive behavioural therapy for Internet addiction in adolescent students in Shanghai. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(2), 129–134.

  • Dwoskin, L. P., Rauhut, A. S., King-Pospisil, K. A., & Bardo, M. T. (2006). Review of the pharmacology and clinical profile of bupropion, an antidepressant and tobacco use cessation agent. CNS Drug Reviews, 12(3–4), 178–207.

  • Essig, T. (2012). The addiction concept and technology: Diagnosis, metaphor, or something else? A psychodynamic point of view. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68(11), 1175–1184.

  • Feng, W., Ramo, D., Chan, S., & Bourgeois, J. (2017). Internet gaming disorder: Trends in prevalence 1998–2016. Addictive Behaviors, 75, 17–24.

  • Ferguson, C. J., & Colwell, J. (2020). Lack of consensus among scholars on the issue of video game “addiction”. Psychology of Popular Media, 9(3), 359.

  • Gilbert, D. L., Ridel, K. R., Sallee, F. R., Zhang, J., Lipps, T. D., & Wassermann, E. M. (2006). Comparison of the inhibitory and excitatory effects of ADHD medications methylphenidate and atomoxetine on motor cortex. Neuropsychopharmacology, 31(2), 442–449.

  • González-Bueso, V., Santamaría, J. J., Fernández, D., Merino, L., Montero, E., Jiménez-Murcia, S., Del Pino-Gutiérrez, A., & Ribas, J. (2018). Internet gaming disorder in adolescents: Personality, psychopathology and evaluation of a psychological intervention combined with parent psychoeducation. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 787.

  • Griffiths, M. (1998). Internet addiction: Does it really exist? In J. Gackenbach (Ed.), Psychology and the internet: Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal implications (p. 61–75). Academic Press.

  • Han, D. H., Hwang, J. W., & Renshaw, P. F. (2010). Bupropion sustained release treatment decreases craving for video games and cue-induced brain activity in patients with Internet video game addiction. Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 18(4), 297–304.

  • Han, D. H., Lee, Y. S., Na, C., Ahn, J. Y., Chung, U. S., Daniels, M. A., Haws, C. A., & Renshaw, P. F. (2009). The effect of methylphenidate on Internet video game play in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 50(3), 251–256.

  • Han, D. H., Kim, S. M., Lee, Y. S., & Renshaw, P. F. (2012). The effect of family therapy on the changes in the severity of on-line game play and brain activity in adolescents with on-line game addiction. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 202(2), 126–131.

  • Han, D. H., & Renshaw, P. F. (2012). Bupropion in the treatment of problematic online game play in patients with major depressive disorder. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26(5), 689–696.

  • Han, X., Wang, Y., Jiang, W., Bao, X., Sun, Y., Ding, W., Cao, M., Wu, X., Du, Y., & Zhou, Y. (2018). Resting-state activity of prefrontal-striatal circuits in internet gaming disorder: Changes with cognitive behavior therapy and predictors of treatment response. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 341.

  • Han, D. H., Yoo, M., Renshaw, P. F., & Petry, N. M. (2018). A cohort study of patients seeking Internet gaming disorder treatment. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(4), 930–938.

  • Hanner, N., & Zarnekow, R. (2015). Purchasing behavior in free to play games: Concepts and empirical validation. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 48, 3326–3335.

  • Iwata, B. A., & Dozier, C. L. (2008). Clinical application of functional analysis methodology. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 1(1), 3–9.

  • James, R. J., & Tunney, R. J. (2017). The need for a behavioural analysis of behavioural addictions. Clinical Psychology Review, 52, 69–76.

  • Johnson, M. R., & Woodcock, J. (2019). “It’s like the gold rush”: the lives and careers of professional video game streamers on Twitch. tv. Information, Communication & Society, 22(3), 336–351.

  • Kelly, J. F., Saitz, R., & Wakeman, S. (2016). Language, substance use disorders, and policy: The need to reach consensus on an “addiction-ary”. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 34(1), 116–123.

  • Khalili-Mahani, N., Smyrnova, A., & Kakinami, L. (2019). To each stress its own screen: A cross-sectional survey of the patterns of stress and various screen uses in relation to self-admitted screen addiction. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(4), e11485.

  • Kim, S. M., Han, D. H., Lee, Y. S., Kim, J. E., & Renshaw, P. F. (2012). Changes in brain activity in response to problem solving during the abstinence from online game play. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 1(2), 41–49.

  • Kim, S. M., Han, D. H., Lee, Y. S., & Renshaw, P. F. (2012). Combined cognitive behavioral therapy and bupropion for the treatment of problematic on-line game play in adolescents with major depressive disorder. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(5), 1954–1959.

  • Kim, P. W., Kim, S. Y., Shim, M., Im, C. H., & Shon, Y. M. (2013). The influence of an educational course on language expression and treatment of gaming addiction for massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) players. Computers & Education, 63, 208–217.

  • King, D. L., Adair, C., Saunders, J. B., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2018). Clinical predictors of gaming abstinence in help-seeking adult problematic gamers. Psychiatry Research, 261, 581–588.

  • King, D. L., Chamberlain, S. R., Carragher, N., Billieux, J., Stein, D., Mueller, K., Potenza, M. N., Rumpf, H. J., Saunders, J., Starcevic, V., Demetrovics, Z., Brand, M., Lee, H. K., Spada, M., Lindenberg, K., Wu, A. M. S., Lemenager, T., Pallesen, S., Achab, S. . . . Delfabbro, P. H. (2020). Screening and assessment tools for gaming disorder: A comprehensive systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 77, 101831.

  • King, D. L., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2018). The concept of “harm” in internet gaming disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(3), 562–565.

  • King, D. L., Kaptsis, D., Delfabbro, P. H., & Gradisar, M. (2017). Effectiveness of brief abstinence for modifying problematic internet gaming cognitions and behaviors. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 73(12), 1573–1585.

  • Kuznekoff, J. H., & Titsworth, S. (2013). The impact of mobile phone usage on student learning. Communication Education, 62(3), 233–252.

  • LeBlanc, A. G., & Chaput, J. P. (2017). Pokémon Go: A game changer for the physical inactivity crisis? Preventive Medicine, 101, 235–237.

  • Lee, E. J. (2011). A case study of internet game addiction. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 22(4), 208–213.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, E. B., An, W., Levin, M. E., & Twohig, M. P. (2015). An initial meta-analysis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for treating substance use disorders. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 155, 1–7.

  • Lee, S. H., Im, J. J., Oh, J. K., Choi, E. K., Yoon, S., Bikson, M., Song, I. U., Jeong, H., & Chung, Y. A. (2018). Transcranial direct current stimulation for online gamers: A prospective single-arm feasibility study. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(4), 1166–1170.

  • Lemmens, J. S., Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2009). Development and validation of a game addiction scale for adolescents. Media Psychology, 12(1), 77–95.

  • Li, H., & Wang, S. (2013). The role of cognitive distortion in online game addiction among Chinese adolescents. Children & Youth Services Review, 35(9), 1468–1475.

  • Li, W., Garland, E. L., & Howard, M. O. (2018). Therapeutic mechanisms of mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement for internet gaming disorder: Reducing craving and addictive behavior by targeting cognitive processes. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 37(1–2), 5–13.

  • Li, W., Garland, E. L., McGovern, P., O’Brien, J. E., Tronnier, C., & Howard, M. O. (2017). Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement for internet gaming disorder in US adults: A stage I randomized controlled trial. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(4), 393–402.

  • Li, W., Garland, E. L., O’Brien, J. E., Tronnier, C., McGovern, P., Anthony, B., & Howard, M. O. (2018). Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement for video game addiction in emerging adults: Preliminary findings from case reports. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 16(4), 928–945.

  • Liu, L., Yao, Y. W., Li, C. S. R., Zhang, J. T., Xia, C. C., Lan, J., Ma, S. S., Zhou, N., & Fang, X. Y. (2018). The comorbidity between internet gaming disorder and depression: Interrelationship and neural mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 154.

  • Mark, A. E., & Janssen, I. (2008). Relationship between screen time and metabolic syndrome in adolescents. Journal of Public Health, 30(2), 153–160.

  • Meyers, R. J., Roozen, H. G., & Smith, J. E. (2011). The community reinforcement approach: An update of the evidence. Alcohol Research & Health, 33(4), 380.

  • Miller, J. C., Dixon, M. R., Parker, A., Kulland, A. M., & Weatherly, J. N. (2010). Concurrent validity of the gambling functional assessment (GFA): Correlations with the South Oaks gambling screen (SOGS) and indicators of diagnostic efficiency. Analysis of Gambling Behavior, 4(1), 61–75.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mishra, P., Pandey, M. K., & Kumar, K. (2020). Utility of SIS-II in identifying the therapeutic change in pathological internet use. Journal of Projective Psychology & Mental Health, 27, 43–49.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nam, B., Bae, S., Kim, S. M., Hong, J. S., & Han, D. H. (2017). Comparing the effects of bupropion and escitalopram on excessive internet game play in patients with major depressive disorder. Clinical Psychopharmacology & Neuroscience, 15(4), 361–368.

  • Nastally, B. L., & Dixon, M. R. (2012). The effect of a brief acceptance and commitment therapy intervention on the near-miss effect in problem gamblers. The Psychological Record, 62(4), 677–690.

  • Orben, A., & Przybylski, A. K. (2019). The association between adolescent well-being and digital technology use. Nature Human Behaviour, 3(2), 173–182.

  • Paclawskyj, T. R., Matson, J. L., Rush, K. S., Smalls, Y., & Vollmer, T. R. (2000). Questions about behavioral function (QABF): A behavioral checklist for functional assessment of aberrant behavior. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 21(3), 223–229.

  • Pallesen, S., Lorvik, I. M., Bu, E. H., & Molde, H. (2015). An exploratory study investigating the effects of a treatment manual for video game addiction. Psychological Reports, 117(2), 490–495.

  • Park, S. Y., Kim, S. M., Roh, S., Soh, M. A., Lee, S. H., Kim, H., Lee, Y. S., & Han, D. H. (2016). The effects of a virtual reality treatment program for online gaming addiction. Computer Methods & Programs in Biomedicine, 129, 99–108.

  • Paulus, F. W., Ohmann, S., Von Gontard, A., & Popow, C. (2018). Internet gaming disorder in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 60(7), 645–659.

  • Pinker, S. (2018). Enlightenment now: The case for reason, science, humanism, and progress. Penguin.

  • Pontes, H. M., Kiraly, O., Demetrovics, Z., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). The conceptualisation and measurement of DSM-5 Internet Gaming Disorder: The development of the IGD-20 Test. PloS One, 9(10), e110137.

  • Pornnoppadol, C., Ratta-apha, W., Chanpen, S., Wattananond, S., Dumrongrungruang, N., Thongchoi, K., Pachansilawut, S., Wongyuen, B., Chotivichit, A., Laothavorn, J., & Vasupanrajit, A. (2020). A comparative study of psychosocial interventions for internet gaming disorder among adolescents aged 13–17 years. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 18, 932–948.

  • Prendergast, M., Podus, D., Finney, J., Greenwell, L., & Roll, J. (2006). Contingency management for treatment of substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Addiction, 101(11), 1546–1560.

  • Primack, B. A., Carroll, M. V., McNamara, M., Klem, M. L., King, B., Rich, M., Chan, C. W., & Nayak, S. (2012). Role of video games in improving health-related outcomes: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 42(6), 630–638.

  • Rapaport, M. H., Bose, A., & Zheng, H. (2004). Escitalopram continuation treatment prevents relapse of depressive episodes. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65(1), 44–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sakuma, H., Mihara, S., Nakayama, H., Miura, K., Kitayuguchi, T., Maezono, M., Hashimoto, T., & Higuchi, S. (2017). Treatment with the self-discovery camp (SDiC) improves internet gaming disorder. Addictive Behaviors, 64, 357–362.

  • Santos, V. A., Freire, R., Zugliani, M., Cirillo, P., Santos, H. H., Nardi, A. E., & King, A. L. (2016). Treatment of Internet addiction with anxiety disorders: Treatment protocol and preliminary before-after results involving pharmacotherapy and modified cognitive behavioral therapy. JMIR Research Protocols, 5(1), e46.

  • Sattar, P., & Ramaswamy, S. (2004). Internet gaming addiction. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(12), 871–872.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scott, D. A., Valley, B., & Simecka, B. A. (2017). Mental health concerns in the digital age. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 15(3), 604–613.

  • Shull, R. L. (2011). Bouts, changeovers, and units of operant behavior. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 12(1), 49–72.

  • Shull, R. L., Gaynor, S. T., & Grimes, J. A. (2001). Response rate viewed as engagement bouts: Effects of relative reinforcement and schedule type. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 75(3), 247–274.

  • Silić, A., Vukojević, J., Čulo, I., & Falak, H. (2019). Hikikomori silent epidemic: A case study. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process & Outcome, 22(2), 317–322.

  • Silverman, K., Kaminski, B. J., Higgins, S. T., & Brady, J. V. (2011). Behavior analysis and treatment of drug addiction. In W. W. Fisher, C. C. Piazza, & H. S. Roane (Eds.), Handbook of applied behavior analysis (pp. 451–471). Guilford Press.

  • Singh, N. N., Matson, J. L., Lancioni, G. E., Singh, A. N., Adkins, A. D., McKeegan, G. F., & Brown, S. W. (2006). Questions about behavioral function in mental illness (QABF-MI): A behavior checklist for functional assessment of maladaptive behavior exhibited by individuals with mental illness. Behavior Modification, 30(6), 739–751.

  • Sisson, S. B., Broyles, S. T., Baker, B. L., & Katzmarzyk, P. T. (2010). Screen time, physical activity, and overweight in US youth: National Survey of Children's Health 2003. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47(3), 309–311.

  • Song, J., Park, J. H., Han, D. H., Roh, S., Son, J. H., Choi, T. Y., Lee, H., Kim, T. H., & Lee, Y. S. (2016). Comparative study of the effects of bupropion and escitalopram on internet gaming disorder. Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 70(11), 527–535.

  • Stevens, M. W., King, D. L., Dorstyn, D., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2019). Cognitive–behavioral therapy for Internet gaming disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 26(2), 191–203

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tangmunkongvorakul, A., Musumari, P. M., Thongpibul, K., Srithanaviboonchai, K., Techasrivichien, T., Suguimoto, S. P., Ono-Kihara, M., & Kihara, M. (2019). Association of excessive smartphone use with psychological well-being among university students in Chiang Mai, Thailand. PloS One, 14(1), e0210294.

  • Taquet, P., Romo, L., Cottencin, O., Ortiz, D., & Hautekeete, M. (2017). Video game addiction: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral determinants for CBT treatment. Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 27(3), 118–128.

  • Tejeiro Salguero, R. A., & Morán, R. M. B. (2002). Measuring problem video game playing in adolescents. Addiction, 97(12), 1601–1606.

  • Torres-Rodríguez, A., Griffiths, M. D., Carbonell, X., & Oberst, U. (2018). Treatment efficacy of a specialized psychotherapy program for internet gaming disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(4), 939–952.

  • Torres-Rodríguez, A., Griffiths, M. D., Carbonell, X., Farriols-Hernando, N., & Torres-Jimenez, E. (2019). Internet gaming disorder treatment: a case study evaluation of four different types of adolescent problematic gamers. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 17(1), 1–12.

  • Van Dijk, J. A. (2006). Digital divide research, achievements and shortcomings. Poetics, 34(4–5), 221–235.

  • Van Dijk, J., & Hacker, K. (2003). The digital divide as a complex and dynamic phenomenon. The Information Society, 19(4), 315–326.

  • Van Rooij, A. J., Ferguson, C. J., Colder Carras, M. C., Kardefelt-Winther, D., Shi, J., Aarseth, E., Bean, A. M., Bergmark, K. H., Brus, A., Coulson, M., Deleuze, J., Dullur, P., Dunkels, E., Edman, J., Elson, M., Etchells, P. J., Fiskalli, A., Granic, I., Jansz, J., et al. (2018). A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(1), 1–9.

  • Venuleo, C., Ciavolino, E., Vernai, M., Marinaci, T., & Calogiuri, S. (2018). Discourses on addiction among gamblers and drug users in treatment. An analysis of the interviews through constrained correspondence analysis. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 16(1), 207–224.

  • Walther, B., Hanewinkel, R., & Morgenstern, M. (2014). Effects of a brief school-based media literacy intervention on digital media use in adolescents: Cluster randomized controlled trial. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking, 17(9), 616–623.

  • Washington, W. D., Banna, K. M., & Gibson, A. L. (2014). Preliminary efficacy of prize-based contingency management to increase activity levels in healthy adults. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47(2), 231–245.

  • Weatherly, J. N. (2012). Editorial comment: Pursuing the experimental analysis of gambling behavior. Analysis of Gambling Behavior, 6(1), 1 Retrieved from

    Google Scholar 

  • Willoughby, T. (2008). A short-term longitudinal study of Internet and computer game use by adolescent boys and girls: Prevalence, frequency of use, and psychosocial predictors. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 195.

  • Wölfling, K., Beutel, M. E., Dreier, M., & Müller, K. W. (2014). Treatment outcomes in patients with internet addiction: a clinical pilot study on the effects of a cognitive-behavioral therapy program. BioMed Research International, 2014, 425924.

  • Wölfling, K., Müller, K. W., Dreier, M., Ruckes, C., Deuster, O., Batra, A., Mann, K., Musalek, M., Schuster, A., Lemenager, T., Hanke, S., & Beutel, M. E. (2019). Efficacy of short-term treatment of internet and computer game addiction: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 76(10), 1018–1025.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wood, R. T. (2008). Problems with the concept of video game “addiction”: Some case study examples. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 6(2), 169–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • World Health Organization. (2018). International classification of diseases for mortality and morbidity statistics (11th rev.). Retrieved from

  • Yao, Y. W., Chen, P. R., Chiang-shan, R. L., Hare, T. A., Li, S., Zhang, J. T., Liu, L., Ma, S.-S., & Fang, X. Y. (2017). Combined reality therapy and mindfulness meditation decrease intertemporal decisional impulsivity in young adults with Internet gaming disorder. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 210–216.

  • Young, K. S. (1998). Caught in the net: How to recognize the signs of internet addiction--and a winning strategy for recovery. John Wiley & Sons.

  • Young, K. S. (2007). Cognitive behavior therapy with internet addicts: Treatment outcomes and implications. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(5), 671–679.

  • Yung, K., Eickhoff, E., Davis, D. L., Klam, W. P., & Doan, A. P. (2015). Internet addiction disorder and problematic use of Google Glass™ in patient treated at a residential substance abuse treatment program. Addictive Behaviors, 41, 58–60.

  • Zajac, K., Ginley, M. K., & Chang, R. (2020). Treatments of internet gaming disorder: a systematic review of the evidence. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 20(1), 85–93.

  • Zhang, J. T., Yao, Y. W., Potenza, M. N., Xia, C. C., Lan, J., Liu, L., Ma, S. S., & Fang, X. Y. (2016). Effects of craving behavioral intervention on neural substrates of cue-induced craving in Internet gaming disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical, 12, 591–599.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Mahfuz Hassan or Elizabeth G. E. Kyonka.

Ethics declarations

The authors contributed to the manuscript equally and are listed in alphabetical order.

Conflict of interest

We have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hassan, M., Kyonka, E.G.E. A Behavior Analytic Perspective on Treatment of Problem Gaming and Problem Social Media Use. Psychol Rec 71, 219–235 (2021).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • problem internet use (PIU)
  • internet addiction (IA)
  • internet gaming disorder (IGD)
  • social media
  • literature review