Maladaptive Coping Styles in Adolescents with Internet Gaming Disorder Symptoms

  • Luke A. Schneider
  • Daniel L. King
  • Paul H. Delfabbro
Original Article


Problematic Internet gaming represents a potential public health concern due to its negative consequences for players and their families. It has been argued that disordered gaming may manifest more readily in vulnerable individuals who lack alternative means of coping. This study investigated Internet gaming disorder (IGD) in relation to coping, including emotion- and problem-focused coping styles. The sample was 823 adolescents (402 males) recruited from secondary schools. Participants completed surveys including the DSM-5 IGD checklist and the Brief COPE. Symptoms of IGD were significantly positively related to denial and behavioural disengagement but were not related to 10 other coping styles. Hours spent gaming and denial coping were the strongest predictors of IGD symptoms. These findings suggest that IGD may co-occur with a tendency toward denial coping, highlighting the significant challenge for practitioners in obtaining reliable assessment by self-report and developing an effective therapeutic alliance in interventions for adolescents.


Internet gaming disorder Coping Adolescents DSM-5 Denial Addiction 



Thanks are due to the students who participated in this study, and the teachers and principals for assistance with data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was approved by the Human Research Ethics Subcommittee at the University of Adelaide and the Department for Education and Child Development. All participants and parents provided informed consent, and participation was voluntary.

Conflict of Interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

Financial Disclosure

This work received financial support from a 2014 RIBG Small Research Grant funded by the School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide. This work also received financial support from a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) DE170101198 funded by the Australian Research Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luke A. Schneider
    • 1
  • Daniel L. King
    • 1
  • Paul H. Delfabbro
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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