Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Marc N. Potenza


Problematic shopping (PS), repetitive engagement in self-injurious behaviors (SIB), and problematic video gaming (PVG) have been shown to have addictive qualities, relate to impulsivity/sensation-seeking (ImpSS) and negative reinforcement, and associate with psychosocial impairment in adolescents. Relationships between these conditions have not been explored. The current study uses survey data from Connecticut high-school students to investigate relationships between PS and SIB, PS and PVG, PS and SIB in relation to ImpSS and health/functioning (H/F), shopping to relieve anxiety or tension (STRAT) and PVG, and PS and PVG in relation to H/F. Chi-squared analyses assessed demographic characteristics of the sample. Logistic regression models assessed relationships between PS and SIB, PS and PVG, and STRAT and PVG. T-tests compared ImpSS in adolescents with and without PS and SIB. Interaction analyses assessed effects of PS on relationships between SIB and H/F, and PVG and H/F. PS was strongly associated with lifetime SIB, severe SIB, disruption due to SIB, PVG and other PVG measures. PS and SIB were associated with elevated ImpSS, and STRAT was associated with several measures of PVG. PS weakened relationships between SIB and substance use and strengthened relationships between PVG and aggressive behaviors. PS should therefore be considered for prevention efforts for SIB, PVG, and aggressive behaviors associated with PVG. Further research should investigate mechanisms connecting PS and SIB, as well as PS, PVG, and aggressive behaviors. Studies should also explore interventions targeting associated features like ImpSS in PS and SIB, and underlying motivations towards negative reinforcement in PS and PVG.


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