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See detailCharacteristics and treatment response of self-identified problematic Internet users in a behavioral addiction outpatient clinic.
Thorens, Gabriel; Achab, Sophia; Billieux, Joël UL et al

in Journal of Behavioral Addictions (2014), 3(1), 78-81

AIMS: Controversies remain about the validity of the diagnosis of problematic Internet use. This might be due in part to the lack of longitudinal naturalistic studies that have followed a cohort of ... [more ▼]

AIMS: Controversies remain about the validity of the diagnosis of problematic Internet use. This might be due in part to the lack of longitudinal naturalistic studies that have followed a cohort of patients who self-identify as having Internet-related problems. METHODS: This retrospective study included 57 patients who consulted the Geneva Addiction Outpatient Clinic from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2010. Patients underwent an initial clinical psychiatric evaluation that included collection of data on socio-demographics, method of referral, specific Internet usage, psychiatric diagnosis, and Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI) scores. Treatment consisted of individual psychotherapeutic sessions. RESULTS: Of these patients, 98% were male and 37% were 18 years or younger. Most patients were online gamers (46% playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games). The mean IAT score was 52.9 (range 20-90). Sixty-eight percent of patients had a co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis, with social phobia being the most prevalent (17.8%). Patients who remained in treatment (dropout rate 24%) showed an overall improvement of symptoms: 38.6% showed significant or average improvement on their CGI score, 26.3% showed minimal improvement, and 14% showed no change. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis that there are specific types of Internet use, with online gaming mainly affecting young male patients. As Internet addiction is not yet an official diagnosis, better instruments are needed to screen patients and to avoid false-negative and false-positive diagnoses. Successful care should integrate the treatment of co-morbid symptoms and involve families and relatives in the therapeutic process. [less ▲]

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See detailDoes self-selection affect samples' representativeness in online surveys? An investigation in online video game research.
Khazaal, Yasser; van Singer, Mathias; Chatton, Anne et al

in Journal of medical Internet research (2014), 16(7), 164

BACKGROUND: The number of medical studies performed through online surveys has increased dramatically in recent years. Despite their numerous advantages (eg, sample size, facilitated access to individuals ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The number of medical studies performed through online surveys has increased dramatically in recent years. Despite their numerous advantages (eg, sample size, facilitated access to individuals presenting stigmatizing issues), selection bias may exist in online surveys. However, evidence on the representativeness of self-selected samples in online studies is patchy. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to explore the representativeness of a self-selected sample of online gamers using online players' virtual characters (avatars). METHODS: All avatars belonged to individuals playing World of Warcraft (WoW), currently the most widely used online game. Avatars' characteristics were defined using various games' scores, reported on the WoW's official website, and two self-selected samples from previous studies were compared with a randomly selected sample of avatars. RESULTS: We used scores linked to 1240 avatars (762 from the self-selected samples and 478 from the random sample). The two self-selected samples of avatars had higher scores on most of the assessed variables (except for guild membership and exploration). Furthermore, some guilds were overrepresented in the self-selected samples. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that more proficient players or players more involved in the game may be more likely to participate in online surveys. Caution is needed in the interpretation of studies based on online surveys that used a self-selection recruitment procedure. Epidemiological evidence on the reduced representativeness of sample of online surveys is warranted. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of expertise on football betting.
Khazaal, Yasser; Chatton, Anne; Billieux, Joël UL et al

in Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy (2012), 7

BACKGROUND: Football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports in the world, including Europe. It is associated with important betting activities. A common belief, widely spread among those who ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports in the world, including Europe. It is associated with important betting activities. A common belief, widely spread among those who participate in gambling activities, is that knowledge and expertise on football lead to better prediction skills for match outcomes. If unfounded, however, this belief should be considered as a form of "illusion of control." The aim of this study was to examine whether football experts are better than nonexperts at predicting football match scores. METHODS: Two hundred and fifty-eight persons took part in the study: 21.3% as football experts, 54.3% as laypersons (non-initiated to football), and 24.4% as football amateurs. They predicted the scores of the first 10 matches of the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. Logistic regressions were carried out to assess the link between the accuracy of the forecasted scores and the expertise of the participants (expert, amateur, layperson), controlling for age and gender. RESULTS: The variables assessed did not predict the accuracy of scoring prognosis (R2 ranged from 1% to 6%). CONCLUSIONS: Expertise, age, and gender did not appear to have an impact on the accuracy of the football match prognoses. Therefore, the belief that football expertise improves betting skills is no more than a cognitive distortion called the "illusion of control." Gamblers may benefit from psychological interventions that target the illusion of control related to their believed links between betting skills and football expertise. Public health policies may need to consider the phenomenon in order to prevent problem gambling related to football betting. [less ▲]

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See detailArabic validation of the Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS).
Khazaal, Yasser; Chatton, Anne; Atwi, Khodor et al

in Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy (2011), 6

BACKGROUND: The popularity of using the Internet and related applications has grown in Arabic countries in recent years. Despite numerous advantages in terms of optimizing communications among individuals ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The popularity of using the Internet and related applications has grown in Arabic countries in recent years. Despite numerous advantages in terms of optimizing communications among individuals and social systems, the use of the Internet may in certain cases become problematic and engender negative consequences in daily life. As no instrument in the Arabic language is available, however, to measure excessive Internet use, the goal of the current study was to validate an Arabic version of the Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS). METHODS: The Arabic version of the CIUS was administered to a sample of 185 Internet users and exploratory and confirmatory analyses performed. RESULTS: As found previously for the original version, a one-factor model of the CIUS had good psychometric properties and fit the data well. The total score on the CIUS was positively associated with time spent online. CONCLUSION: The Arabic version of the CIUS seems to be a valid self-report to measure problematic Internet use. [less ▲]

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See detailBrief DISCERN, six questions for the evaluation of evidence-based content of health-related websites.
Khazaal, Yasser; Chatton, Anne; Cochand, Sophie et al

in Patient education and counseling (2009), 77(1), 33-7

OBJECTIVE: To extract and to validate a brief version of the DISCERN which could identify mental health-related websites with good content quality. METHOD: The present study is based on the analysis of ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: To extract and to validate a brief version of the DISCERN which could identify mental health-related websites with good content quality. METHOD: The present study is based on the analysis of data issued from six previous studies which used DISCERN and a standardized tool for the evaluation of content quality (evidence-based health information) of 388 mental health-related websites. After extracting the Brief DISCERN, several psychometric properties (content validity through a Factor analysis, internal consistency by the Cronbach's alpha index, predictive validity through the diagnostic tests, concurrent validity by the strength of association between the Brief DISCERN and the original DISCERN scores) were investigated to ascertain its general applicability. RESULTS: A Brief DISCERN composed of two factors and six items was extracted from the original 16 items version of the DISCERN. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were more than acceptable for the complete questionnaire (alpha=0.74) and for the two distinct domains: treatments information (alpha=0.87) and reliability (alpha=0.83). Sensibility and specificity of the Brief DISCERN cut-off score > or =16 in the detection of good content quality websites were 0.357 and 0.945, respectively. Its predictive positive and negative values were 0.98 and 0.83, respectively. A statistically significant linear correlation was found between the total scores of the Brief DISCERN and those of the original DISCERN (r=0.84 and p<0.0005). CONCLUSION: The Brief DISCERN seems to be a reliable and valid instrument able to discriminate between websites with good and poor content quality. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The Brief DISCERN is a simple tool which could facilitate the identification of good information on the web by patients and general consumers. [less ▲]

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See detailFrench validation of the internet addiction test.
Khazaal, Yasser; Billieux, Joël UL; Thorens, Gabriel et al

in Cyberpsychology & behavior : the impact of the Internet, multimedia and virtual reality on behavior and society (2008), 11(6), 703-6

The main goal of the present study is to investigate the psychometric properties of a French version of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and to assess its relationship with both time spent on Internet ... [more ▼]

The main goal of the present study is to investigate the psychometric properties of a French version of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and to assess its relationship with both time spent on Internet and online gaming. The French version of the Young's Internet Addiction Test (IAT) was administered to a sample of 246 adults. Exploratory and confirmatory analyses were carried out. We discovered that a one-factor model of the IAT has good psychometric properties and fits the data well, which is not the case of a six-factor model as found in previous studies using exploratory methods. Correlation analysis revealed positive significant relationships between IAT scores and both the daily duration of Internet use and the fact of being an online player. In addition, younger people scored higher on the IAT. The one-factor model found in this study has to be replicated in other IAT language versions. [less ▲]

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