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The International Gaming Research Unit (IGRU)

Unit(s) of assessment: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: School of Social Sciences


The International Gaming Research Unit is committed to

  • Discovering and understanding attitudes toward gambling, game playing, internet usage and other potentially addictive behaviours
  • Developing and evaluating responsible gambling tools
  • Developing psychometric tools to assess problematic and addictive behaviours
  • Examining the ways individuals interact online – both healthy and unhealthy interactions
  • examining the situational and psycho-structural characteristics of gaming (for example, what makes games enjoyable to play?)
  • Examining how new technologies and products impact on our lives and change the way we live
  • Identifying those people who are most at risk of developing behavioural problems with these activities
  • Designing prevention strategies to minimise the risk of such vulnerable people developing problems
  • identifying the underlying factors that contribute to some people developing psychological and behavioural dependencies in relation to some of these activities or technologies.

The kind of work we do falls into three distinct areas (staff training, evaluation, and research).

Staff training

Our main areas in training concern social responsibility and problem gambling. This involves short workshops designed to educate staff members about the psychology of gambling.


Our main focus here is on the design and evaluation of gambling products. This work helps gambling companies to put in protective measures to minimise the harm from gambling.


This is our primary area of interest and we can undertake research that either examines a particular topic using a variety of methods, or that focuses on one particular methodology.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The International Gaming Research Unit submitted an impact case study to REF 2021. Discover the real-world impact of their research.


  • Norsk Tipping (Norway)
  • World Health Organisation (Switzerland)
  • Camelot Plc (UK)
  • Neccton Ltd (Austria)
  • Eotvos University (Hungary)
  • University of Bergen (Norway)
  • Svenske Spel (Sweden)
  • Veikkaus (Finland)
  • Gambling Commission (UK)
  • Association of British Bookmakers (UK)
  • GamRes (Canada)

Related staff

Core staff

  • Prof. Mark Griffiths
  • Dr. Daria Kuss
  • Dr. Halley Pontes
  • Dr. Olatz Lopez-Fernandez
  • Dr. Filipa Calado
  • Dr Andrew Harris

Associated staff

  • Dr. Lydia Harkin
  • Dr. Chris Norman
  • Professor Belinda Winder

Research Fellows

  • Hibai Lopez-Gonzalez

PhD students

  • Maris Bonello
  • Filip Nuyens
  • Melina Throuvala
  • Eyup Yilmaz
  • Tyrone Burleigh
  • Alexandria Rodriguez-Torres


Auer, M. & Griffiths, M.D. (2015). Testing normative and self-appraisal feedback in an online slot-machine pop-up message in a real-world setting. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 339. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00339.

Auer, M. & Griffiths, M.D. (2016). Personalized behavioral feedback for online gamblers: A real world empirical study. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1875. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01875.

Calado, F., Alexandre, J. & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). How coping styles, cognitive distortions, and attachment predict problem gambling among adolescents and young adults. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6, 648–657.

Griffiths, M.D. & Nuyens, F. (2017). An overview of structural characteristics in problematic videogame playing. Current Addiction Reports, 4, 272-283.

Kuss, D.J. & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). Social networking sites and addiction: Ten lessons learned. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14, 311; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030311

Kuss, D.J., Griffiths, M.D. & Pontes, H.M. (2017). Chaos and confusion in DSM-5 diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder: Issues, concerns, and recommendations for clarity in the field. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6, 103-109.

Nuyens, F., Kuss, D.J., Lopez-Fernandez, O., & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). The experimental analysis of problematic video gaming and cognitive skills: A systematic review. Journal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, 27, 110-117.

Kuss, D.J., Pontes, H.M. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018). Neurobiological correlates in Internet Gaming Disorder: A systematic review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 166. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00166

Lopez-Fernandez, O., Kuss, D.J.,Romo, L. Morvan, Y., Kern, L., … Billieux, J. (2017). Self-reported dependence on mobile phones in young adults: A European cross-cultural empirical survey. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6, 168-177.

Pontes, H.M. & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). The development and psychometric evaluation of the Internet Disorder Scale (IDS-15). Addictive Behaviors, 64, 261-268.

Pontes, H., Stavropoulos, V. & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). Measurement Invariance of the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale–Short-Form (IGDS9-SF) between the United States of America, India and the United Kingdom. Psychiatry Research, 257, 472-478.

Quinones, C., Griffiths, M.D. & Kakabadse, N. (2016). Compulsive Internet use and workaholism: An exploratory two-wave longitudinal study. Computers in Human Behavior, 60, 492-499.

Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., Dunn, T.J., Garcia-Campayo, J., Marcelo M. P. Demarzo, M.M.P., & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). Meditation Awareness Training for the treatment of workaholism: A non-randomised controlled trial. Journal of Behavioral Addiction, 6, 212-220.

Related projects

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The International Gaming Research Unit submitted an impact case study to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. Discover the real-world impact of their research here.