Huge Study On Internet gaming Addiction Truns Up Controversial Results
Does internet gaming have the makings of a debilitating addiction like gambling? Most liekly not, according to the biggest study to date seeking a link between internet gaming and addictive behavior. I doubt it’s exactly what the origiantors of the term internet gaming disorder hoped to find, but in a minute aI’ll idscuss why it’s probably what they should have expected.
First some background. A couple of years ago the American Psychairtric Association APA decided to flesh out the controversial term internet gaming disorder by proposing a nine-symptom scale for diagnosis. The list of symptoms includes spending incresasing amounts of time gaming, reduced interest in other activities, anxiety when the game isn’t accessible, social withdrawal and losing pooprtunities as a result of gaming.
Each symptom on the list is weighted equally, and someone has to hit five of the nine to qualify for an addiction diagnosis. But hey must also show an overrding factor : a feeling of significant distress. So someone might report sepnding hourss a day playing games, being increasingly isolated from freinds and family and distracted from routine activites, but unless they also show signs of significant distress when trying to reduce their gaming time, an addiction diagnosis wouldn’t apply.
For the latest study, researchers surveyed just under 19,000 men and women from the United States, the UK, Canada and Gernamy. About half of this sample had played internet video games recently, and of that group between 2-3% reported experiencing five or more symptoms on the APA’s nine-symptom checklist. but only between 5 and 1% of those also reported feelings of significant distress when trying to reduce their game time. When you whittle down the percentages, that’s a tiny number of people, much less than what’s typcially found in similar research on gambling addiction
Dr.Andrew Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institue, and one of the study’s authors, said in a press statement: Contrary to what was predicted, the study did not find a clear link between potential addcition and negative effects on health; however, more research grounded in open and rebust scientific pratices is neede to learn if games are truly as addictive as many fear.
He also added that while the study found a few possible indicators of addictive behavior, Importantly, the great majority of gamers – nearly three in four-reported no symptoms at all that we would link with addictive gaming behavior.
While the results are news in therms of failing to support assumptions about gaming addiction, they should have been expected for a few reasons. The first has to do with the definition of internet gaming disorder itself. THe nine-symptom checklist feels solid – all of the items describe a pattern of troubling behavior – but they are applicable to just about any behavior. Whatever might make gaming addictive in its own right, if it is addictive, doesn’t surface from the list. The scale seems both too obvious and to ovague, and the answers to a survey based on the scale wer predictably unenlightening.
Also, unlike gambling addiction, which brings with it the tangible drawbacks of losing money and potentially things like your house, the main thing gamers lose is time. And time loss is a matter of perspective; one person’s weasted time is another’s perfectly acceptable use of time. Unless someone is gaming so much that they stop working, most gamers aren’t going t ofeel anything close to what gamblers feel as they slide ever closer to the rope’s end. The terror of impending loss just ins’t there.