alexa Abstract | Videogame “Addiction” Versus “Problematic Play”: Which Construct Best Captures the Nature of Excessive Videogame use?

Acta Psychopathologica
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As the number of individuals who play videogames has increased in recent years, the frequency with which patients seek treatment for problematic videogame playing (PVGP) behaviors has also risen. Thus, explorations into the specific characteristics of PVGP are essential now more than ever before. However, the current state of the literature primarily relies on comparisons between PVGP and pathological gambling, utilizing modified measures of the latter to assess the former. More recently, scales have emerged to tap the DSM-5 criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder. However, to date, no studies have attempted to adapt the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder (SUD), specifically, in an effort to understand PVGP within the context of addiction, and currently no single measure exists that adequately captures the full DSM-5 criteria for SUD or “addiction.”

The current study sought to address these questions by adapting SUD criteria to address videogame-related behavior via a measure we call the Videogame Addiction Scale (VGAS). Comparisons of the psychometrics and criterion validity of the VGAS with existing measures of PVGP suggested the VGAS was superior. Lastly, a model of videogame addiction was generated that aligns with the SUD literature. Specifically, impulsivity, maladaptive coping, weekly game playing time (akin to “dose”), and particular structural game characteristics (akin to “route of administration” in addiction) were associated with problematic videogame play when conceptualized as an addiction. Results suggest that the addiction construct, in contrast to “problematic play,” best captures the underlying features of excessive videogame play.

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Author(s): Ethan M Paschall


Problematic videogame play, Addiction, Substance use disorder, Neuropsychiatry, Developmental Psychopathology, Child Psychopathology

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