Texas Tech University

Faculty Member’s Research Identifies Contributing Factors to Gambling Disorders and Problem Video Gaming

Matilda Beckanovic

July 13, 2023


Devin Mills, Ph.D., set out to find preventive measures and provide support to those with gambling disorders

Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences (CFAS) faculty member Devin Mills, Ph.D., conducted research surrounding behavioral addictions, with a particular emphasis on Gambling Disorder (GD) and Problem Video Gaming (PVG). His work aims to identify the contributing factors to these disorders and pinpoint the elements that encourage responsible play in both gambling and video gaming. 

“In light of the possibility of legalizing gambling in Texas in the near future, we must be proactive rather than reactive,” Mills said. “While it's not certain that this expansion will ultimately lead to an increase in GD, it's crucial that we prioritize the development of a comprehensive infrastructure that promotes safer gambling practices and provides robust support for individuals who are struggling with GD, thereby addressing the potential societal concerns before they arise.”

This research will aid in building an infrastructure to promote safer gambling practices, mobilizing resources to combat gambling disorders, and proposes guidelines for positive play in gambling and video gambling. By understanding the mechanics of these disorders, game makers can implement preventive measures, tailor interventions, and influence policy development. 

Mills shares how applying social psychological theories, they have been able to understand better the behavioral patterns associated with GD and PVG.

“We've discovered individual differences that may predispose some people to these disorders and have explored the impact of emerging trends, like the ‘gamblification' of video games and cryptocurrency trading,” Mills said. “These findings have profound implications for our field, providing a foundation for developing effective prevention and intervention strategies. They also help shape policy and legislation by underlining the necessity of safeguards in the gaming and gambling industries.”

For Mills, Texas Tech has fostered an environment that promotes rigorous inquiry and interdisciplinary collaboration. The academic resources, research facilities, and the supportive network of fellow research have greatly supported Mills in the depth and breadth of his research.