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Distinguishing Addiction From High Engagement: An Investigation Into the Social Lives of Adolescent and Young Adult Massively Multiplayer Online Game Players

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Abstract

This study investigated certain social aspects of young massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) players’ lives in the context of pathological gameplay while distinguishing addiction from high engagement. Online gameplay frequency and demographic information were also examined. Of the 1,332 sampled, those classified as addicted self-reported the largest percentage of (a) playing online games, (b) scheduling their lives around their gameplay, (c) playing games instead of spending time with family and friends, (d) getting into verbal and physical altercations, and (e) playing to interact with friends and strangers. Statistical analysis, however, revealed no significant differences between the groups, perhaps supporting the idea that players progress through a phase of high engagement before reaching the stage of addiction and that those highly engaged might already show traits or behaviors very similar to, if not the same as, those addicted with regard to certain aspects of their social lives.

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... In addition, there is a need for future research samples to include females, as although the proportion of female gamers is increasing, most research still uses all-male samples . Samples should also be broadened to include adults in addition to adolescents in studies of addicted gaming (Seok and DaCosta, 2014). ...
... Secondly, alongside coping, social support is an important component in clinical interventions for addictive disorders (Petry and Weiss, 2009;Kim et al., 2017), and generally for both physical and mental health (Uchino, 2009;Taylor and Stanton, 2007). Thirdly, there is a need for research to consider the contribution of social support in the transpiration of pathological gaming whilst making the delineation between addiction and engagement (Seok and DaCosta, 2014). For these reasons, perceived social support (PSS) may mediate the relationship between addicted Internet gaming and reduced mental health. ...
... For example, Kraut and Burke (2015) reported that using the Internet to communicate with strong ties was associated with higher perceptions of social support, and lowered symptoms of depression. The potential dualistic effects of displacement and augmentation suggest a more complex picture of excessive gaming, in which (1) social support received offline may decrease for addicted gamers, but (2) social support received online may increase and adequately support psychological well-being (Seok and DaCosta, 2014). Therefore, there is a need for research to consider the distinction between social relationships maintained on and offline. ...
Article
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A challenge in defining Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is discriminating pathological gameplay from an excessive, yet benign, involvement in video games. Although previous research has explored this theoretical distinction in the context of general computing activities, it merits consideration with regards to online gaming. Additionally, whilst comorbidities of addicted gaming and mental health outcomes have been robustly demonstrated, few studies have examined the role of mediating factors that may contextualise this relationship. As such, the present study aims to validate the distinction between addiction and engagement in online gaming, by considering the mediating roles of coping and social online and offline support in mental health. Method One hundred and thirty-five participants completed the Computer Engagement/Addiction Questionnaire (CEAS), Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale (DASS-21), Brief Approach-Avoidance Coping Questionnaire (BACQ) and two versions of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Results Correlational analyses showed a clear distinction between gaming addiction and engagement in the context of all of depression, stress and in particular anxiety (DAS) not found in previous studies. Multiple mediation analysis showed a significant mediating effect of coping, (specifically withdrawal/resignation coping) on the relationship between video game addiction and symptoms of DAS. Offline perceived social support was a significant partial mediator in the relationship between gaming addiction and depression, as compared to any kind of online social support. The results support the distinction of the addiction and engagement concepts in gaming. This study may inform future clinical classifications of IGD, with implications on how pathological gaming is treated.
... In both cases factor analyses supported the distinction, and some preliminary external validity has also emerged with differences apparent in personality (Charlton and Danforth 2010), academic performance (Skoric et al. 2009) and attentional profiles (Metcalf and Pammer 2011) for those being classified as addicted versus highly engaged. Although, Seok and DaCosta (2014) recently did not find significant differences in the social life of engaged and addicted online adolescent gamers in Korea. These researchers, however, argued that the age of their sample might have influenced their results and that future studies should consider older adult gamers. ...
... In particular, the possible mediating role of coping warrants testing because coping skill training is already a common empirically supported component of interventions for additive disorders (Witkiewitz et al. 2005) and in improving mental health more generally (Taylor and Stanton 2007). Video game addiction researchers have called for more studies with adults (Seok and DaCosta 2014). ...
Article
This study examined the mediating role of coping between video game addiction and video game engagement and mental health (stress, anxiety and depression). An international sample of 497 adult participants (M age 25.3 years) completed a cross-sectional online survey including the computer engagement/addiction scale (CEAS), Brief Approach-Avoidance Questionnaire (BACQ) and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21). Multiple mediation analysis showed partial mediation of coping between video game addiction and mental health but full mediation for video game engagement. Lower levels of approach coping and higher levels of diversion and withdrawal coping were related to poorer mental health. This is the first study which shows that coping is important in the relationship between video game addiction and mental health. Also, the findings provide validity for the distinction between engagement and addiction. Highly engaged video gamers with a maladaptive coping repertoire may be more vulnerable to developing video game addiction.
... In both cases factor analyses supported the distinction, and some preliminary external validity has also emerged with differences apparent in personality (Charlton and Danforth 2010), academic performance (Skoric et al. 2009) and attentional profiles (Metcalf and Pammer 2011) for those being classified as addicted versus highly engaged. Although, Seok and DaCosta (2014) recently did not find significant differences in the social life of engaged and addicted online adolescent gamers in Korea. These researchers, however, argued that the age of their sample might have influenced their results and that future studies should consider older adult gamers. ...
... In particular, the possible mediating role of coping warrants testing because coping skill training is already a common empirically supported component of interventions for additive disorders (Witkiewitz et al. 2005) and in improving mental health more generally (Taylor and Stanton 2007). Video game addiction researchers have called for more studies with adults (Seok and DaCosta 2014). ...
Article
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A number of studies have reported a co-occurrence between video game addiction and poorer mental health, but few have contextualised this relationship by identifying mediating variables. Further, there remains uncertainty in how to differentiate high engagement from what may be termed addiction in the context of video gaming. This study examined the mediating role of coping between one measure of video game addiction and engagement, and mental health. An international sample of 552 adult participants (M age 24.9 years, 52.3 % Australian) completed an online survey including the Computer Addiction-Engagement Scale (CAES), Depression, Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) and Approach/Avoidance Coping Questionnaire (BACQ). Multiple mediation analysis showed that coping explained a significant portion of the relationship between video game addiction and symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. However, even after accounting for coping, a direct relationship remained. Video game engagement, on the other hand, indicated full mediation with no direct connection to declined mental health, except in the case of anxiety. Less use of approach coping strategies and particularly more use of resignation and withdrawal coping strategies were related to poorer mental health. Gaming for distraction was unrelated to mental health. This study identified maladaptive coping as a partial explanation of the relationship between video game addiction and poorer mental health. Also, the findings provide validity for making a distinction between video gaming engagement and addiction. Highly engaged gamers with maladaptive coping styles may be more vulnerable to developing video game addiction.
... In their study, engaged gamers showed salience and mood modification, whereas addicted gamers exhibited anxiety, apprehension, touchiness, and isolation. The key differentiation between addiction and engagement included the range of adverse consequences experienced by the consumers [81,82]. Video game addiction is possibly linked to a range of adverse effects such as mental, physical, and social deterioration, but this is not the case in high engagement [82]. ...
... The key differentiation between addiction and engagement included the range of adverse consequences experienced by the consumers [81,82]. Video game addiction is possibly linked to a range of adverse effects such as mental, physical, and social deterioration, but this is not the case in high engagement [82]. Video game addiction is mainly linked with growing signs of stress, anxiety, and depression [83]. ...
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BACKGROUND Video games are expanding exponentially with their increased popularity among users. However, this popularity has also led to an increase in reported video game addiction. There may be consumer engagement–related factors that may influence video game addiction. OBJECTIVE This study aims to empirically examine the impact of the dimensions of consumer video game engagement on video game addiction. The dimensions are dedication, absorption, conscious attention, social connection, enthusiasm, and interaction. We utilize the uses and gratifications theory to study the video game engagement dimensions as potential factors through which gamers feel gratified and engaged in video game playing. Additionally, this study incorporates the cultivation theory to investigate how video game engagement factors trigger video game addiction. METHODS A two-step process was applied for data analysis on valid cases of 176 gamers aged 15-25 years: video game addiction was specified and validated as a reflective-formative construct, and hypothesis testing was later performed using the WarpPLS on valid respondents. RESULTS The analysis uncovered 2 dimensions of video game engagement: social connection with P =.08 and interaction with P =.49, which did not significantly contribute to video game addiction. CONCLUSIONS This study offers unique insights to a myriad of stakeholders, mostly psychologists and psychiatrists, who routinely prescribe behavior modification techniques to treat video game addiction.
... In their study, engaged gamers showed salience and mood modification, whereas addicted gamers exhibited anxiety, apprehension, touchiness, and isolation. The key differentiation between addiction and engagement included the range of adverse consequences experienced by the consumers [81,82]. Video game addiction is possibly linked to a range of adverse effects such as mental, physical, and social deterioration, but this is not the case in high engagement [82]. ...
... The key differentiation between addiction and engagement included the range of adverse consequences experienced by the consumers [81,82]. Video game addiction is possibly linked to a range of adverse effects such as mental, physical, and social deterioration, but this is not the case in high engagement [82]. Video game addiction is mainly linked with growing signs of stress, anxiety, and depression [83]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Video games are expanding exponentially with their increased popularity among users. However, this popularity has also led to an increase in reported video game addiction. There may be consumer engagement–related factors that may influence video game addiction. Objective This study aims to empirically examine the impact of the dimensions of consumer video game engagement on video game addiction. The dimensions are dedication, absorption, conscious attention, social connection, enthusiasm, and interaction. We utilize the uses and gratifications theory to study the video game engagement dimensions as potential factors through which gamers feel gratified and engaged in video game playing. Additionally, this study incorporates the cultivation theory to investigate how video game engagement factors trigger video game addiction. Methods A two-step process was applied for data analysis on valid cases of 176 gamers aged 15-25 years: video game addiction was specified and validated as a reflective-formative construct, and hypothesis testing was later performed using the WarpPLS on valid respondents. Results The analysis uncovered 2 dimensions of video game engagement: social connection with P=.08 and interaction with P=.49, which did not significantly contribute to video game addiction. Conclusions This study offers unique insights to a myriad of stakeholders, mostly psychologists and psychiatrists, who routinely prescribe behavior modification techniques to treat video game addiction.
... Son yıllarda teknolojinin baş döndürücü hızının özellikle insanla ilgili her alana etki ettiğine şahitlik etmekteyiz. Kuşkusuz bilgisayar, bilgisayar oyunu ve internet teknolojileri de bu baş döndürücü hızdan etkilenmektedir (Seok & DaCosta, 2014). Günümüzde internet kullanımı; iletişim kurmak, akademik araştırma yapmak, bilgiye ulaşmak ve eğlenmek için vazgeçilemez bir araç durumundadır (Frangos, Frangos, & Sotiropoulos, 2011). ...
... İnternetin bilgisayar oyunu ve çevrimiçi oyunlar dünyasına girmesiyle birlikte dünyanın her tarafından milyonlarca çevrimiçi oyun kullanıcısı iletişim kurarak birbirleriyle vakit geçirmektedir. Basit grafiklere sahip çevrimiçi oyunlardan en gelişmiş grafiklere ve altyapıya sahip çevrimiçi oyunlar, yazılı ve sesli sohbet imkânı sağlayarak çevrimiçi oyun kullanıcılarının bu oyunlara bağlanma ve bağımlı olma düzeylerini arttırabilmektedir (Seok & DaCosta, 2014). ...
... Some work has targeted the-mostly debunked-relationship between games and addiction [10,11]. Other work problematizes the pathologizing of video game play by providing nuance to discussions about high engagement of gameplay [12], game quitting behaviors [13], and diagnosis of gaming addiction [14,15]. ...
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This study investigates how video games culture addresses mental health and illness. Through a discourse analysis of eighty-three articles from four popular video games news websites, this paper describes the primary conceptions of mental health and illness as created in games culture. The study also targets how the news articles address the notions of burnout and crunch time in the games industry and how they relate to mental health and illness. The findings reveal seven thematic categories for how games journalism discourses address mental health and illness, with over half of the articles showcasing issues of game character portrayals. Only seven of the articles described burnout and crunch time as being related to issues of mental health and illness. An analysis of the findings suggests an overemphasis on both celebrating and critiquing video game portrayals of mental illness and an under-emphasis on advocacy and work-related issues in the games industry.
... 11 This has now become a prominent concern, particularly in Asia, where several countries are trialling curfews that restrict the time a person can spend playing video games. 12 Controversial live-in treatment centres have been opened by the Chinese Government 13 and treatment centres are beginning to emerge in Western nations, including Australia. 14 However, there is limited data available on their effectiveness. ...
Article
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Background: For most people, playing video games is a passionate leisure pursuit: a source of relaxation, fun, socialisation and culture. Moderate play has been associated with greater wellbeing and cognitive abilities in some studies. Yet, for a small subgroup, gaming can become excessive and problematic. Objective: This article presents an overview of the world of video games and the recently proposed internet gaming disorder (IGD), as well as advice regarding relevant treatment approaches within primary care. Discussion: Similar to other addictive disorders (including problem gambling), IGD is characterised by excessive use despite negative consequences, with associated difficulties in reducing or stopping. Studies that have examined individuals with IGD have identified multiple harms, including lower psychosocial wellbeing, greater levels of psychopathology and diminished functioning. As yet, few studies have rigorously examined effective treatment options, but adapting psychological interventions used in the treatment of other addictions (eg motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy) that incorporate harm minimisation approaches, and addressing underlying issues and associated problems, are recommended.
... Internet gaming disorder is clinically more accepted, but still contentious. Its current state as a formal psychiatric disorder has pending status in the current edition of the mainstream professional Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-V 2015), but it is also acknowledged as pathologically 'real,' and distinguishable from mere 'high engagement' (Petry and O'Brian 2013). 2 Empirics offer support (e.g., Chen and Leung 2016;Seok and DaCosta 2014;Wan and Chiou 2006). There are also clear parallels between findings that describe how problem gaming arises and engagement within gamification. ...
Article
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Gamification is an increasingly common marketing tool. Yet, to date, there has been little examination of its ethical implications. In light of the potential implications of this type of stealth marketing for consumer welfare, this paper discusses the ethical dilemmas raised by the use of gamified approaches to marketing. The paper draws on different schools of ethics to examine gamification as an overall system, as well as its constituent parts. This discussion leads to a rationale and suggestions for how gamification could be regulated and/or controlled by more informal codes of conduct. The paper ends by outlining a practical framework which businesses can use to evaluate the potential ethical implications raised by their own gamified marketing techniques.
... An alcoholic does not primarily seek increasing time spent in a bar, nor does a gambler seek increasing time spent in a casino; increasing time in these examples is byproduct of a need to consume alcohol or place bets. An extensive literature on the motives for gaming provides some helpful reference points for potential indicators of healthy and problematic gaming (Chin-Sheng & Chiou, 2007;Dauriat et al., 2011;Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010;Puerta-Cort es, Panova, Carbonell, & Chamarro, 2017;Seok & DaCosta, 2014;Wan & Chiou, 2006), which may guide researchers in refining the concept of gaming tolerance. Selfdetermination theory, for example, suggests that the needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are related to game enjoyment, preferences, and future game play (Przybylski, Weinstein, Murayama, Lynch, & Ryan, 2012;Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006). ...
Article
Tolerance in DSM-5 Internet gaming disorder (IGD) refers to a need for increasing time spent in gaming activities. However, the focus on ‘time’ has been criticized for being a superficial imitation of tolerance in substance-based addiction. Gaming tolerance may require a broader conceptualization of its motivational and cognitive features. The present study aimed to investigate tolerance-like processes in gaming and their association with IGD symptoms. An online survey that included a 20-item measure of gaming-related tolerance was administered to 630 adult gamers, including 4.0% who screened positively for IGD. Exploratory factor analysis indicated that a three-factor model for the tolerance items provided the best fit. These factors were: (1) Wealth, the need to accumulate in-game rewards of increasing rarity, novelty, or quantity; (2) Achievement, the need to pursue goal-driven activities of increasing complexity, difficulty, or uniqueness; and (3) Inadequacy, the need to rectify perceived insufficiencies in gaming capability or progress. A hierarchical regression analysis indicated that Inadequacy was modestly but significantly related to other IGD symptoms, after controlling for age, gender, and time spent gaming. These findings support the notion that problematic gaming may be motivated by the need for completion of increasingly more intricate, time-consuming, or difficult goals to achieve satisfaction and the need to rectify perceived inadequacies related to gaming.
... A large body of literature on the motives for gaming has provided helpful reference points for potential indicators of healthy and problematic gaming (Chin-Sheng & Chiou, 2007;Dauriat et al., 2011;Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010;Jegers, 2007;Puerta-Cortés, Panova, Carbonell, & Chamarro, 2017;Seok & DaCosta, 2014;Wan & Chiou, 2006). Przybylski, Rigby, and Ryan (2010) advanced a model based on self-determination theory that suggested that the appeal and well-being effects of video games were based in their potential to satisfy basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. ...
Article
Background and aims The criterion of tolerance in DSM-5 Internet gaming disorder (IGD) refers to a need for increasing time spent gaming. However, this focus on “need for gaming time” may overlook some of the broader motivations, outcomes, or effects of gaming that underlie excessive play. This study aimed to explore regular and problematic gamers’ experiences and perceptions of tolerance in IGD. Methods An online survey of 630 adult gamers yielded 1,417 text responses to open-ended questions. A thematic analysis of 23,373 words was conducted to extract dominant themes. Results Participants reported that they increasingly desired game items, status, or story progress as they became more involved or invested in games. As players develop higher standards of play in games, an increasing number of potential reward outcomes may have diminishing mood-modifying effects. None of the participants, including those with self-reported IGD, explicitly referred to a need for increasing time spent gaming. Discussion and conclusions These results suggest that players may be motivated by preferences for specific goals or reinforcers in games rather than wanting an amount of time spent gaming. Thus, problematic gaming may involve a need for completion of increasingly intricate, time-consuming, or difficult goals to achieve satisfaction and/or reduce fears of missing out. Further research is needed to determine whether these cognitive and motivational factors related to gaming stimuli should extend or replace the concept of tolerance in IGD or be considered as separate but related processes in disordered gaming.
... Importantly, most research did not distinguish between (intense) engagement and addiction [7]. The former is likely to have no negative consequences but a curiosity and prioritisation of gaming as a hobby or lifestyle choice [8]. ...
... Importantly, most research did not distinguish between (intense) engagement and addiction [7]. The former is likely to have no negative consequences but a curiosity and prioritisation of gaming as a hobby or lifestyle choice [8]. ...
Chapter
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... In the last decade, several studies have capitalized on Charlton and Danforth's work in order to explore the correlates and differential predictive power of engagement versus addiction in video games [22,23,28,43,44]. Among those, Brunborg et al. [22] found that addicted gamers are more at risk of presenting with various psychological and healthrelated problems (e.g., stress, low mood, feeling of being exhausted) than highly engaged gamers. ...
Article
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Purpose of review. The year 2018 was marked by the official recognition of Gaming Disorder (GD) as a mental condition with its inclusion in the proposed eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Recently, a group of scholars has repeatedly criticized the notion of GD proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), arguing that its inclusion in ICD-11 will pathologize highly involved but healthy gamers. It is therefore of crucial importance to clarify the characteristics of high involvement versus pathological involvement in video games, the boundaries between these constructs, and the implementation of screening and diagnostic GD tools that distinguish the two. Recent findings. Increasing evidence supports the view that intense video game playing may involve patterns of gaming that are characterized by high involvement but that are non-pathological. Furthermore, some criteria for addictive and related disorders may reflect peripheral features that are not necessarily indicative of pathology, whereas others may reflect core features that are more likely to adequately identify pathological behavior and so have diagnostic validity. Finally, it is key to assess functional impairment associated with gaming, so that a GD diagnosis has clinical utility. Summary. Available evidence supports the crucial need to distinguish between high and pathological involvement in videogames, in order to avoid over-diagnosis and pathologization of normal behavior. The definition of GD adopted in ICD-11 has clinical utility and diagnostic validity since it explicitly mentions the functional impairment caused by problem gaming and its diagnostic guidelines refer to core addiction features, reflecting pathological involvement.
... Other work problematizes popular discourses about gaming, addiction, and pathologizing video game play. For instance, Seok and DaCosta (2014) attempt to add nuance to the discussion of compulsive gaming by distinguishing between high engagement play and addicted play, concluding that players might 22 move through a phase of high engagement before reaching a level of compulsion they could label as addiction. Bergstrom (2017) pushes back against alarmist notions of gaming addictions or compulsion, and both Bax (2016) and Golub and Lingley (2008) problematize the concept of diagnosing compulsive gaming. ...
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This exploratory study examines three video games as case studies for how video games may portray mental illness through interactive, non-narrative design features. The analysis not only reports findings but also offers an evaluation for how video games might improve in how they depict mental illness. The games studied are What Remains of Edith Finch, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and Doki Doki Literature Club. The analysis identifies how these games use audiovisual styles, control systems, game goals, and procedurality to portray mental illness. A report of the discovered themes precedes a discussion of innovations and weaknesses of those depictions of mental illness.
... Some work has targeted the-mostly debunked-relationship between games and addiction [10,11]. Other work problematizes the pathologizing of video game play by providing nuance to discussions about high engagement of gameplay [12], game quitting behaviors [13], and diagnosis of gaming addiction [14,15]. ...
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The present study examined excessive Internet use of Taiwanese adolescents and a psychological aspect of users, sensation seeking, thus to differentiate motivation of Internet dependents and non-dependents. Seven hundred and fifty three Taiwanese high school students were selected using cluster sampling and 88 of them were categorized as Internet dependent users. Results indicated that Internet dependents spent more time on-line than non-dependents. While Internet dependents perceived significantly more negative Internet influences on daily routines, school performance, and parental relation than non-dependents, both Internet dependents and non-dependents viewed Internet use as enhancing peer relations. Making friends through the Internet has become a popular activity among adolescents, potentially leading to its excessive use. Internet dependents scored significantly higher on overall sensation seeking and disinhibition than Internet non-dependents. However, both groups did not differ in the life experience seeking subscale and thrill and adventure seeking subscale. This finding contradicts that of Lavin, Marvin, McLarney, Nola, and Scott [CyberPsychol. Behav. 2 (2000) 425]. Possible reasons for this discrepancy and for the relation between Internet dependence and disinhibition in Taiwanese adolescents are also discussed.
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Researchers have studied whether some youth are "addicted" to video games, but previous studies have been based on regional convenience samples. Using a national sample, this study gathered information about video-gaming habits and parental involvement in gaming, to determine the percentage of youth who meet clinical-style criteria for pathological gaming. A Harris poll surveyed a randomly selected sample of 1,178 American youth ages 8 to 18. About 8% of video-game players in this sample exhibited pathological patterns of play. Several indicators documented convergent and divergent validity of the results: Pathological gamers spent twice as much time playing as nonpathological gamers and received poorer grades in school; pathological gaming also showed comorbidity with attention problems. Pathological status significantly predicted poorer school performance even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video-game play. These results confirm that pathological gaming can be measured reliably, that the construct demonstrates validity, and that it is not simply isomorphic with a high amount of play.
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There is a current trend of thought among some scholars of gambling that arcade video game playing in some adolescents may develop into a behavior which resembles a gambling addiction. A scale, developed to identify arcade video game addiction in adolescents, was administered to 467 secondary school children in a coastal town in the UK. Initial psychometric tests show that the scale has acceptable internal consistency reliability and factorial validity, and is significantly related to alternative means of assessing excessive video game play. The implications of the study findings are discussed together with its limitations and suggestions for future research.
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While the addictive potential of Internet usage is a topic that has attracted a great deal of attention, as yet little research has addressed this topic. Preliminary data from the Internet Usage Survey shows that most of the 563 users reported instances of Internet use interfering with other aspects of their lives, most commonly problems with managing time. A subgroup of users endorsed multiple usage-related problems, including several similar to those found in addictions. Younger users tended to have experienced more problems.
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As computer game playing is a popular activity among adolescents, a questionnaire study was undertaken with 387 adolescents (12-16 years of age) to establish their "dependence" using a scale adapted from the DSM-III-R criteria for pathological gambling. Analysis indicated that one in five adolescents were currently "dependent" upon computer games. Boys played significantly more regularly than girls and were more likely to be classified as "dependent." The earlier children began playing computer games it appeared the more likely they were to be playing at "dependent" levels. These and other results are discussed in relation to research on other gaming dependencies.
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This paper presents empirical qualitative results of Internet heavy-use and addiction among some college students in Taiwan. It offers in-depth, online interviews of student-subjects in order to facilitate an interdisciplinary understanding of Internet heavy use, addiction and its potential impacts. A total of 83 subjects were interviewed, both as individuals and in chat-room groups. The analysis of qualitative data presented in six major themes: (1) Internet use and reasons; (2) Internet features; (3) the Internet as replacement for other media; (4) impact of Internet overuse; (5) controlling Internet use; and (6) coping with Internet withdrawal. Discussions, explanations, along with examples and quotes from subjects, are provided in each section. Implications for student affairs administrators and further research directions are also addressed.
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Evidence supporting the application of Brown's (1991, 1993) conception of behavioural addiction to computing behaviour is presented. Questionnaire items tapping Brown's addiction criteria were factor-analysed along with others, including computer apathy-engagement and computer anxiety-comfort items of Charlton and Birkett (1995). Items relating to some of Brown's criteria (tolerance, euphoria, and cognitive salience) were found to be complex, an Addiction factor loading upon them but an Engagement factor loading more highly. Items tapping other criteria (conflict, withdrawal, behavioural salience, and relapse and reinstatement) were shown to be factor pure, with only the addiction factor loading highly upon them. It is concluded that Brown's conception of behavioural addiction can be applied to computer-related behaviour, although the relationship of milder facets of addiction, which are also merely indicative of high engagement, to computer-related addictions is non-unique. It is also concluded that classifying individuals as exhibiting pathological computer use using checklists based upon adaptations of DSM criteria for pathological gambling is likely to overestimate the number of people addicted to computing activities.
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Despite the rise of computer games as a leisure phenomenon, there has been relatively little research into this area. Furthermore, almost all of the research to date has concentrated on arcade or console games. More recently, the Internet has become a new medium in which players can play videogames. Since there is no published research in this area, some "benchmark" data on which future research can build was collected from two online gaming fan sites. Sociodemographics showed that the majority of players were male (approximately 85%). Over 60% of players were older than 19 years. The data provide clear evidence that the game clientele is very much an adult profile and suggest a different picture to the stereotypical image of an adolescent online gamer. The stereotype of the typical online player being a socially withdrawn young male with limited sex role identity appears to be misplaced.
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Some researchers suggest that for some people, video game playing is an addictive behaviour similar to substance dependence. Our aim was to design and validate a scale to measure the problems associated with the apparently addictive use of all types of video games and video game systems, because there is no instrument at the present time that can be used for this purpose. We reviewed the DSM-IV criteria for substance dependence and for pathological gambling, as well as the literature on the addictions in order to design a short scale (PVP; problem video game playing) that is quick and easy to apply. The scale was administered to 223 Spanish adolescents aged between 13 and 18 years. The study was carried out in Granada and Algeciras, Spain. Psychometric analyses show that the PVP seems to be unidimensional and has acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) at 0.69. The pattern of associations between the scale scores and alternative measures of problem play supports its construct validity (higher total scores in the scale were associated with higher frequency of play, mean and longest times per session, self and parents' perception of playing to excess, and scores in the Severity of Dependence Scale). Our results confirm that the excessive use of video games is associated with a number of problems which resemble a dependence syndrome, and the PVP appears as a useful instrument for the measurement of such problems.
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To date, most research into massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) has examined the demographics of play. This study explored the social interactions that occur both within and outside of MMORPGs. The sample consisted of 912 self-selected MMORPG players from 45 countries. MMORPGs were found to be highly socially interactive environments providing the opportunity to create strong friendships and emotional relationships. The study demonstrated that the social interactions in online gaming form a considerable element in the enjoyment of playing. The study showed MMORPGs can be extremely social games, with high percentages of gamers making life-long friends and partners. It was concluded that virtual gaming may allow players to express themselves in ways they may not feel comfortable doing in real life because of their appearance, gender, sexuality, and/or age. MMORPGs also offer a place where teamwork, encouragement, and fun can be experienced.