The (co-)occurrence of problematic video gaming, substance use, and psychosocial problems in adolescents

Antonius J. van Rooij*, Daria J. Kuss, Mark D. Griffiths, Gillian W. Shorter, Tim M. Schoenmakers, Dike Van de Mheen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: 

The current study explored the nature of problematic (addictive) video gaming (PVG) and the association with game type, psychosocial health, and substance use. 

Methods: 

Data were collected using a paper and pencil survey in the classroom setting. Three samples were aggregated to achieve a total sample of 8478 unique adolescents. Scales included measures of game use, game type, the Video game Addiction Test (VAT), depressive mood, negative self-esteem, loneliness, social anxiety, education performance, and use of cannabis, alcohol and nicotine (smoking). 

Results: 

Findings confirmed problematic gaming is most common amongst adolescent gamers who play multiplayer online games. Boys (60%) were more likely to play online games than girls (14%) and problematic gamers were more likely to be boys (5%) than girls (1%). High problematic gamers showed higher scores on depressive mood, loneliness, social anxiety, negative self-esteem, and self-reported lower school performance. Nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis using boys were almost twice more likely to report high PVG than non-users. 

Conclusions: 

It appears that online gaming in general is not necessarily associated with problems. However, problematic gamers do seem to play online games more often, and a small subgroup of gamers - specifically boys - showed lower psychosocial functioning and lower grades. Moreover, associations with alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis use are found. It would appear that problematic gaming is an undesirable problem for a small subgroup of gamers. The findings encourage further exploration of the role of psychoactive substance use in problematic gaming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-165
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • problematic video gaming
  • Internet Gaming Disorder
  • online games
  • adolescents
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • cannabis
  • loneliness
  • depression
  • negative self-esteem
  • social anxiety
  • INTERNET ADDICTION
  • ASSESSMENT TOOLS
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • DRUG-USE
  • PREVALENCE
  • VALIDITY
  • ALCOHOL
  • SCALE
  • IMPULSIVITY
  • CONCURRENT

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