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J Behav Addict. 2018 Dec 1;7(4):953-964. doi: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.118. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

Gender-related differences in cue-elicited cravings in Internet gaming disorder: The effects of deprivation.

Author information

1
1 School of Psychology, Fujian Normal University , Fuzhou, P. R. China.
2
2 Institute of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University , Jinhua, P. R. China.
3
3 School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University , Shanghai, P. R. China.
4
4 Department of Physics, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance, East China Normal University , Shanghai, P. R. China.
5
5 Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven, CT, USA.
6
6 Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling , Wethersfield, CT, USA.
7
7 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven, CT, USA.
8
8 Connecticut Mental Health Center , New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Online gaming has become a popular leisure activity, in which males more frequently develop Internet gaming disorder (IGD) compared to females. However, gender-related neurocognitive differences have largely not been systematically investigated in IGD.

METHODS:

Cue-elicited-craving tasks were performed before game playing and immediately after deprivation operationalized as a forced break from gaming when the Internet was disconnected. Ninety-nine subjects with IGD (27 males and 22 females) or recreational game use (RGU; 27 males and 23 females) provided functional MRI and subjective data. Analyses investigating effects of group (IGD and RGU) × gender (male and female) at different times (pre-gaming, post-gaming, and post-pre) on cue-elicited craving and brain responses were performed. Correlations between brain responses and subjective measures were calculated.

RESULTS:

In pre-, post-, and post-pre tests, significant gender-by-group interactions (p < .001, cluster size > 15 voxels) were observed in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Further analyses of the DLPFC cluster showed that in post-pre comparisons, results were related to less engagement of the DLPFC in IGD, especially in females. In addition, at post-test, significant interactions were observed in the caudate, as females with IGD showed greater activation as compared to those with RGU.

DISCUSSION:

The results raise the possibility that women with RGU may show better executive control than men when facing gaming cues, which may provide resiliency against developing IGD; however, once they develop IGD, their gaming may impair their executive control and enhance their cravings for gaming, which may make it more difficult to quit gaming.

KEYWORDS:

Internet gaming disorder; caudate; craving; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; executive control; gender

PMID:
30556781
PMCID:
PMC6376376
DOI:
10.1556/2006.7.2018.118
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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