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 journalArticlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

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
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Volume3
Issue number3
Early online date26 Aug 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Depression
  • Internet Gaming Disorder
  • Loneliness
  • Negative self-esteem
  • Online games
  • Problematic video gaming
  • Smoking
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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