Pathological Video Game Use Among Youths: A Two-Year Longitudinal Study

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3180, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 02/2011; 127(2):e319-29. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-1353
Source: PubMed


We aimed to measure the prevalence and length of the problem of pathological video gaming or Internet use, to identify risk and protective factors, to determine whether pathological gaming is a primary or secondary problem, and to identify outcomes for individuals who become or stop being pathological gamers.
A 2-year, longitudinal, panel study was performed with a general elementary and secondary school population in Singapore, including 3034 children in grades 3 (N = 743), 4 (N = 711), 7 (N = 916), and 8 (N = 664). Several hypothesized risk and protective factors for developing or overcoming pathological gaming were measured, including weekly amount of game play, impulsivity, social competence, depression, social phobia, anxiety, and school performance.
The prevalence of pathological gaming was similar to that in other countries (∼9%). Greater amounts of gaming, lower social competence, and greater impulsivity seemed to act as risk factors for becoming pathological gamers, whereas depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance seemed to act as outcomes of pathological gaming.
This study adds important information to the discussion about whether video game "addiction" is similar to other addictive behaviors, demonstrating that it can last for years and is not solely a symptom of comorbid disorders.

Download full-text


Available from: Douglas A Gentile
  • Source
    • "Among German adult gamers, a smaller but still considerable gender difference in gaming time was observed with males playing video games for approximately 60 min whereas females use them for 40 min per day (Festl et al., 2013). Although frequent gaming and addictive gaming are not the same, the higher gaming time of males is often discussed in the light of their higher engagement in risky gaming behavior and in the context of a higher disposition for the currently discussed behavioral addiction internet gaming disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Petry & O'Brien, 2013), which is also consistently reported (Gentile et al., 2011; Lemmens et al., 2015; Rehbein et al., 2015). Yet it might be surprising, that the reasons for the higher engagement in video gaming of males are still not well understood. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Prior studies observed involvement with video games to vary between different sociodemographic strata with considerable higher gaming time in males compared to females. However, empirical evidence explaining the gender gap in gaming time is still scarce. The present study aims to evaluate if the higher gaming time can be attributed to gender specific game genre preferences. Methods: A nationwide representative survey comprising 3073 participants aged 16e93 years (M ¼ 49.1; SD ¼ 18.2) was conducted. Video game use and genre preferences were assessed via a written questionnaire. OLS regression and subsequent mediation analyses were used to determine significant predictors of gaming time and to evaluate the contribution of genre preferences. Results: Higher age, high education and employment predicted lower gaming time whereas male gender and the preference of certain game genres predicted higher gaming time. Mediation analyses revealed that the higher gaming time of males is fully mediated by the higher preference of role-playing and shooter games among this gender group. Conclusion: The higher gaming time of men is fully accounted for by the male specific preference for certain game genres. Future research should address the functional connection between genre preferences and gaming behavior in further detail.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Computers in Human Behavior
  • Source
    • "High levels of social acceptance (e.g., in families and peer groups) may prevent (some) adolescents from quitting phases of excessive gaming. Thus, the observed strong persistence of excessive gaming in Singapore (Gentile et al., 2011 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The popularity of digital games among adolescents has raised public and scientific concern about players drifting into excessive or pathological gaming patterns. Among the neglected issues in this area of research is the question of whether excessive gaming rather reflects a transient phenomenon during adolescence or a temporally stable pathological behavior that requires external intervention. In a correlational panel study with two points of measurement, we investigated the temporal stability of excessive gaming in German adolescents (N = 488; aged 12-17 years at time-1) over a time lag of one year. Among the video game players in our sample, 2.8 percent were classified as excessive gamers at both points of measurement. The correlation of excessive gaming between T1 and T2 was found to be relatively moderate (r = .54). Detailed inspection revealed even lower stability scores for each single component of excessive gaming such as tolerance or conflict, with the most problematic elements (stealing, borrowing money due to gaming problems) displaying the lowest stabilities (r < .30). Thus, the results indicate that ‒ at least for the large majority of adolescent players ‒ excessive gaming is a transient and not a stable condition. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Media Psychology Theories Methods and Applications
    • "This study theoretically assumed that OC symptoms would precede IA symptoms (Dong et al., 2011). However, other studies demonstrated that IA symptoms can precede mental health problems (e.g., Gentile et al., 2011). It is likely that there is no single path for primary and secondary dysfunction, and that "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: nternet addiction (IA) in adolescence was longitudinally examined in relation to individual obsessive–compulsive symptoms and the personality trait of openness to experience OTE) at the classroom level. The study consists of a two-point measure of a normative sample comprising 648 Greek adolescents (retention = 363, age 16–18 years, wave 1: age = 15.75 years, SD = 0.57, males = 46.2%, females = 53.8%). IA was assessed with the IA Test (Young, K. S. [1998]. Caught in the net: How to recognize the signs of internet addiction—And a winning strategy for recovery. New York, NY: Wiley), obsessive–compulsive symptoms with the Symptom CHECK list 90 revised (Derogatis, L. R., & Savitz, K. L. [1999]. The SCL-90-R, brief symptom inventory, and matching clinical rating scales. In M. E. Maruish (Ed.), The use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcomes assessment (2nd ed., pp. 679–724). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers) and OTE with the FFFK (Asendorpf, J. D., & van Aken, M. A. G. [2003]. Validity of big five personality judgments in childhood: A 9 year longitudinal study. European Journal of Personality, 17, 1–17). A three-level hierarchical linear model investigated individual- and classroom-level effects on IA score and its changes over time. The findings revealed that IA at the initial level was associated with the obsessive–compulsive symptoms of the individual and negatively related to classroom-level OTE. However, adolescents high on obsessive–compulsive symptoms in high on OTE classrooms presented higher IA scores over time.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · European Journal of Developmental Psychology
Show more