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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.

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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).

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