International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 948-969

First online:

The Contribution of Game Genre and Other Use Patterns to Problem Video Game Play among Adult Video Gamers

  • Luther ElliottAffiliated withInstitute for Special Populations Research, National Development and Research Institutes Email author 
  • , Geoffrey ReamAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, Adelphi University
  • , Elizabeth McGinskyAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, Temple University
  • , Eloise DunlapAffiliated withInstitute for Special Populations Research, National Development and Research Institutes

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A nationally representative online survey (n = 3,380) was used to assess the contribution of patterns of video game play to problem video game play (PVGP) symptomatology. Game genre, enjoyment, consumer involvement, time spent gaming (gaming days in the past month and hours on days used), and demographic variables were all examined. The study confirms game genre’s contribution to problem use as well as demographic variation in play patterns that underlie problem video game play vulnerability. Identification of a small group of game types positively correlated with problem use suggests new directions for research into the specific design elements and reward mechanics of “addictive” video games. Unique vulnerabilities to problem use among certain groups demonstrate the need for ongoing investigation of health disparities related to contextual dimensions of video game play.


Video games Problem video game play Game play patterns Genre Game mechanics