Addition and aberrant behaviour

Addiction and Aberrant Behaviours



The Addiction and Aberrant Behaviours group comprises two main units – the International Gaming Research Unit (IGRU) and the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit (SOCAMRU). The IGRU's research focuses on behavioural addictions (particularly addictions to gambling, video games, internet use, smartphones, social networking, exercise, work and sex) and utilises quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods for both online and offline research. SOCAMRU's research focuses on applied forensic research, particularly in the area of sexual abuse. SOCAMRU is part-based within HMP Whatton, one of the largest prisons in Europe for people convicted of sexual offences. Other areas of research by the unit include understanding the rehabilitative climate of prisons, self-harm and suicide, professional boundaries, violent offending, fraud and deception and the treatment and rehabilitation of people who have offended. The research utilises quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches, and recognises the importance and value of service users in contributing to this research area. SOCAMRU runs both prison-based and community-based service user groups to inform its applied research on prevention and perpetration of crime, and has strong links with the Safer Living Foundation charity.

Work by the group has appeared in major international journals such as Addiction, Journal of Behavioral Addictions, Addictive Behaviors, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Clinical Psychology Review, Journal of Affective Disorders, Journal of Gambling Studies, Social Sciences and Medicine, Cyberpsychology, Social Networking and Behaviour, Computers in Human Behavior, PLoS ONE, Mindfulness, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Sex Research, Sex Abuse, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Sexual Aggression, Journal of Criminal Psychology and The Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Our research has attracted funding from British Academy, Circles UK, ESRC, National Offender Management Service, GambleAware (Responsible Gambling Trust), Gambling Commission, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, Ministry of Justice, the NHS, Ontario Problem Gambling Research Council, the Safer Living Foundation and the Swedish Gaming Authority. Our consultancy services have been used by over 30 companies worldwide in the gaming industry (Norsk Tipping, Camelot, Svenska Spel, Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, Veikkaus, Kindred, Association of British Bookmakers).

Research from the Addiction and Aberrant Behaviours research group informs a range of the Psychology Department’s courses including the forensic psychology and mental health pathways on the BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Forensic Psychology (BPS accredited), MSc Forensic Mental Health, MSc Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health, MSc Cyberpsychology, and research degrees. We have an active PhD community, with over 20 PhD students attached to the group.

Related staff


Recent publications by members of the research group include:

King, D.L., Delfabbro, P.H., Griffiths, M.D. & Gradisar, M. (2011). Assessing clinical trials of Internet addiction treatment: A systematic review and CONSORT evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1110–1116

Blagden, N., Winder, B., & Gregson, M. (2011) Working with denial in convicted sex offenders: A qualitative analysis of treatment professionals’ views and experiences and their implications for practice. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 57, 332-356.

Hadjiefthyvoulou, F., Fisk, J.E, Montgomery, C., & Bridges, N. (2011). Everyday And Prospective Memory Deficits In Ecstasy/Polydrug Users. Journal of Psychopharmacology 25, 453-464.

Daffern, M., Howells, K., Hamilton, L., Mannion, A., Howard, R.C. & Lilly, M. (2009). The impact of structured risk assessments followed by risk reduction recommendations on aggression in hospitalized patients with personality disorder. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.

Horsley, R.R., Osborne, M., Norman, C. & Wells, T.J. (2012). High-frequency gamblers show increased resistance to extinction following partial reinforcement. Behavioral Brain Research, 229, 438-442.

Murray, J., Irving, B., Farrington, D. P., Colman, I., & Bloxsom, C.A.J. (2010). Very early predictors of conduct problems and crime: Results from the 1970 British Cohort Study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 1198–1207.

Slade, K., Edelmann, R., Worrall, M. & Bray, D. (in press). Applying the Cry of Pain Model as a predictor of deliberate self-harm in an early stage adult male prison population. Legal and Criminological Psychology.

Sheldon, K., Tetley, A., Thompson, C., Krishnan, G. (2013). Are they different? A comparison study of risk in Dangerous and Severe Personality Disordered and Personality Disordered hospitalized populations. Psychology, Crime and Law, 19, 67-83.

Blagden, N; Winder, B; Thorne, K; & Gregson, M. (2011) "No-one in the world would ever wanna speak to me again": An interpretative phenomenological analysis into convicted sexual offenders' accounts and experiences of maintaining and leaving denial Psychology, Crime and Law , 17, 563-585.

Young, G., & Whitty, M.T. (2011). Should gamespace be a taboo-free zone? Moral and psychological implications for single-player video games. Theory & Psychology, 21, 802–820.

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