NRC Academic Partners, Day 3, Track 2, 09:00 -10:30

Created by
Professor Emmanuel Stip, Carl M. Gaspar, Ph.D., Amar Sabri Ahmad, Ph.D.
Publication Date
Format
ISSUP Events

Presented as part of the Uniting the global community to face the challenge of addiction event, in-person on 14th May, 2022

Presentations:

  • From Blackberry to Mindtales: Evolution of smartphone application in mental health and addiction - Professor Emmanuel Stip
  • Culture and parenthood: A multinational, multilevel model of video game disorder - Carl M. Gaspar, Ph.D.
  • Drug Use Disorders Prevalence Projections in the GCC Countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia), 2019-2014: A Modelling Study - Amar Sabri Ahmad, Ph.D.

Abstracts:

  • From Blackberry to Mindtales: Evolution of smartphone application in mental health and addiction - Professor Emmanuel Stip

The field of mobile health applications is enormously increasing as a growing number of users search for easily accessible and effective interventions for mental health problems. There are more than thousand smart phone applications worldwide. Some of them are specific to SUD. For instance, in UAE MindTales has been developed to help the follow up of persons with mood or anxiety symptoms and could be available for co-morbidity with SUD. Another example in Montreal is an innovative research project aiming at using technology-based psychological interventions to address cannabis related problems in young adults with psychosis. It helps to identify optimal psychological interventions that could be hosted by a mobile application (“iCanChange”). MindTales is an online platform for mental health support providing users with digital therapy, educational tools and access to mental health specialists. Universities across Abu Dhabi cater to local Emirati students and those from around the world, with different backgrounds and diverse cultures. University is well-known for being a highly stressful environment where students are prone to burn-out. To compound this issue, lack of access to acceptable or affordable counselling services leaves students in a vulnerable position. Rationale: Current university support services are limited by many factors, such as availability of on-campus counselors, access to mental health care under insurance coverage of the students, and financial restraints in addition to a multitude of personal and cultural factors such as social stigma. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the acceptability, efficacy and usability of digital mental health app, MindTales in the alleviation of symptoms of depression and anxiety, among university students. Methods: This research is meant to adapt and develop an acceptable and suitable digital therapy application using evidence-based techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for the local culture. The goal is to determine the acceptability and usability of this digital therapy application in Universities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai where it may not be easy to access psychotherapy.  This research involving a digital application was loaded on smart phone. This application uses standard Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises.

  • Culture and parenthood: A multinational, multilevel model of video game disorder - Carl M. Gaspar, Ph.D.

Rationale

Playing video games can become maladaptive and associated with clinically significant social and occupational impairments. This Video Game Disorder (VGD) is also linked with poorer health and well-being. Much of our existing VGD knowledge comes from single nation studies, heavily focused on adolescent and college-age samples. This study uses data from Ithra's 2021 global digital well-being survey to explore VGD tendencies and identify socio-demographic and cultural correlates.

Methodology

Participants (N = 14,500) were representative adult samples drawn from 29 nations. All participants provided socio-demographic data and completed a measure of VGD, along with questions assessing general usage patterns.

Using a linear mixed model that takes into account socio-demographic factors, we ranked countries by nation-level estimates of VGD score.

Results

 From the lowest to highest nations, VGD scores varied by as much as 20-percent of the maximum possible score. After controlling for demographic variables, a clustering of global regions emerged with Latin American nations with the lowest scores, Western-European nations in the middle, and other nations near the top. This raises novel questions about cultural differences that might affect tendencies toward higher VGD. Several individual-level correlates were also identified, including a novel interaction that suggests parenthood encourages the persistence of problematic gaming habits. Similar patterns with problematic social media use suggest common mechanisms.

Conclusions

These findings can help inform public policy and public health initiatives to reduce VGD prevalence.

  • Drug Use Disorders Prevalence Projections in the GCC Countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia), 2019-2014: A Modelling Study - Amar Sabri Ahmad, Ph.D.

The aim of this study is to provide drug use disorders prevalence projections in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Drug use disorder data for the GCC countries were downloaded from "Our World in Data" (see https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-with-drug-use-disorders). Univariate linear models were performed using generalized least squares for each GCC country with drug use disorders prevalence as an outcome variable. The predictor variable (year) was fitted as quadratic in all models. Future drug use disorders prevalence data was projected up to 2040, and current period effects were extrapolated into the future, tolerated the drift to continue but attenuated it, and stopped all nonlinear period effects. In an additional analysis, drug use disorder prevalence projections for the United States and the United Kingdom data were also analysed. All statistical analyses were performed in R software version 4.1.0.

The prevalence of drug use disorders is projected to increase between 2019 and 2040 in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. However, it is projected that the prevalence of drug use disorders in the United Arab Emirates will decrease.

Resource Language

English

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