Pathological Gaming in Young Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study Focused on Academic Stress and Self-Control in South Korea

  • Eui Jun Jeong
  • Christopher J. FergusonEmail author
  • Sung Je Lee
Empirical Research


With the increase in social concern regarding pathological gaming among adolescents, the WHO (World Health Organization) included “gaming disorder” in the International Classification of Disorders, 11th version (ICD-11). However, little longitudinal research has been conducted examining social influences on pathological gaming, particularly in Asian countries (e.g., South Korea, China). With 4-year panel data from young adolescents (N = 968, 50.7% girls; Mage = 13.3 years) in South Korea, this study examined the effects of cultural environmental factors (parents’ excessive interference, communication with parents, and friends’ and teachers’ support) on pathological gaming through academic stress and self-control. The results showed the critical role of academic stress and self-control in the effects of environmental factors on pathological gaming. Parents’ excessive interference increased the degree to which youth experienced academic stress while the degree of communication with parents decreased this stress. Increased academic stress damaged self-control, which finally increased the degree of pathological gaming. Self-control affected the degree of pathological gaming stronger than gaming time did. The theoretical and practical implications from the study findings are discussed.


Pathological gaming Gaming disorder Excessive interference Academic stress Self-control 


Authors’ Contributions

EJJ conceived of the study, conducted data collection and statistical analyses, wrote the draft of the manuscript; CJF helped write the final draft and helped with additional analyses; SJL assisted in conceiving of the study and assisted in the statistical analyses and writing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This paper was supported by Konkuk University in 2016.

Data Sharing and Declaration

Data of Korean Game Panel Study (KGPS) were used. The data that support the findings of this study are available from Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA, but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. However, data are available from the first author upon reasonable request and with permission of KOCCA.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study received the ethical approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in Konkuk University, 7001355-201408-HR-031.

Informed Consent

Youth and their parents were provided with informed consent about the survey and its basic nature as part of the panel recruitment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eui Jun Jeong
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Ferguson
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sung Je Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Digital Culture & ContentsKonkuk UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyStetson UniversityDeLandUSA

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