Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 103–110 | Cite as

Attention Problems and Pathological Gaming: Resolving the ‘Chicken and Egg’ in a Prospective Analysis

  • Christopher J. Ferguson
  • T. Atilla Ceranoglu
Original Paper


Pathological gaming (PG) behaviors are behaviors which interfere with other life responsibilities. Continued debate exists regarding whether symptoms of PG behaviors are a unique phenomenon or arise from other mental health problems, including attention problems. Development of attention problems and occurrence of pathological gaming in 144 adolescents were followed during a 1-year prospective analysis. Teens and their parents reported on pathological gaming behaviors, attention problems, and current grade point average, as well as several social variables. Results were analyzed using regression and path analysis. Attention problems tended to precede pathological gaming behaviors, but the inverse was not true. Attention problems but not pathological gaming predicted lower GPA 1 year later. Current results suggest that pathological gaming arises from attention problems, but not the inverse. These results suggest that pathological gaming behaviors are symptomatic of underlying attention related mental health issues, rather than a unique phenomenon.


Video games Addiction Pathological gaming Attention problems Grades 



Pathological gaming


Grade point average


Conflict of interest

Neither author have conflicts of interest to declare. The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Ferguson
    • 1
  • T. Atilla Ceranoglu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and CommunicationStetson UniversityDeLandUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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