Online platforms enable real-time trading activities that are similar to those of gambling. This study aimed to investigate the associations of traditional investing, real-time stock trading, and cryptocurrency trading with excessive behavior and mental health problems.
This was a cross-sectional population-based survey.
The participants were Finnish people aged 18-75 years (N = 1530, 50.33% male). Survey asked about monthly regular investing, real-time stock-trading platform use, and cryptocurrency trading. The study had measures for excessive behavior: gambling (Problem Gambling Severity Index), gaming (Internet Gaming Disorder Test), internet use (Compulsive Internet Use Scale), and alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test). Psychological distress (Mental Health Inventory), perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), COVID-19 anxiety, and perceived loneliness were also measured. Background factors included sociodemographic variables, instant loan taking, and involvement in social media identity bubbles (Identity Bubble Reinforcement Scale). Multivariate analyses were conducted with regression analysis.
Within the sample, 22.29% were categorized into monthly regular investors only, 3.01% were investors using real-time stock-trading platforms, and 3.59% were cryptomarket traders. Real-time stock-trading platform use and cryptocurrency trading were associated with younger age and male gender. Cryptomarket traders were more likely to have an immigrant background and have taken instant loans. Both real-time stock-trading platform use and cryptomarket trading were associated with higher excessive behavior. Cryptomarket traders especially reported higher excessive gambling, gaming, and internet use than others. Cryptomarket traders reported also higher psychological distress, perceived stress, and loneliness.
Regular investing is not a risk factor for excessive behavior. However, rapid online trading platforms and applications were significantly more commonly used by participants reporting excessive behavior and mental health problems. The strong association between cryptomarket trading and excessive behavior in particular underlines the need to acknowledge the potential risks related to real-time trading platforms.

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