The Budapest Longitudinal Study (BLS) is investigating the processes related to the acquisition, development, maintenance, and cessation of nicotine dependence, alcohol use disorder, and substance use disorder, as well as various behavioral addictions (gaming disorder, gambling disorder, problematic social media use, work addiction, exercise addiction, compulsive buying, and compulsive sexual behaviors).
Although we are getting to know more about these phenomena, information related to the causes and natural course of these problematic behaviors is scarce. This is because most studies are conducted after the problem has already developed and only examine a specific point in time. The BLS study addresses these shortcomings. It will be following early adolescents (aged 10-11 years) and young adults (aged 18-34 years) for five years utilizing a longitudinal design. These specific age groups were chosen because they are sensitive developmental periods in terms of the development of different kinds of addictions.
During the study, we will be exploring specific behaviors that can potentially become addictive. We will also be studying their problematic and addictive nature, their natural course – whether they are transitory or permanent conditions – as well as examining other psychosocial factors in their background. The study will investigate which factors are the most important in determining whether a specific behavior becomes problematic in specific individuals. The study will help us understand these behaviors and help us to identify risk factors and protective factors in the addiction process.
Longitudinal studies such as the Budapest Longitudinal Study are scarce. However, they are essential in understanding the nature and causes of substance and behavioral addictions. The BLS study will contribute to a better understanding of these behavioral disorders and lead to the development of more effective prevention and treatment interventions and programs.