Date: 16 Mar 2011

Internet Gaming Addiction: A Systematic Review of Empirical Research

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Abstract

The activity of play has been ever present in human history and the Internet has emerged as a playground increasingly populated by gamers. Research suggests that a minority of Internet game players experience symptoms traditionally associated with substance-related addictions, including mood modification, tolerance and salience. Because the current scientific knowledge of Internet gaming addiction is copious in scope and appears relatively complex, this literature review attempts to reduce this confusion by providing an innovative framework by which all the studies to date can be categorized. A total of 58 empirical studies were included in this literature review. Using the current empirical knowledge, it is argued that Internet gaming addiction follows a continuum, with antecedents in etiology and risk factors, through to the development of a “full-blown” addiction, followed by ramifications in terms of negative consequences and potential treatment. The results are evaluated in light of the emergent discrepancies in findings, and the consequent implications for future research.