Several studies have documented the existence of a behavioral addiction related to Video Games, which appears to be similar to other forms of addiction (gambling and substance-related) in terms of characteristics and consequences. Literature about this topic has suffered from the lack of a standard definition of this disorder before the publication of DSM-5. Thus, the prevalence of the disorder and its characteristics at the moment are unclear. The present research aimed to investigate the differences between sub-clinical problematic Video Game (VG) use and Internet use and clear Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and Internet addiction in terms of gender, amount of time spent gaming, preferential coping strategies, adjustment problems, interpersonal relations, and to identify risk factors that predict a problematic engagement in video gaming. We administered a survey containing measures about coping strategies, interpersonal relations, internalizing/externalizing problems, and Internet and Video Game addiction to 612 Italian students recruited in the four main regions of the country (age range 9–19; M = 13.94). Results show that 15.2% of participants showed a sub-clinical problematic use of Video Games, while those with a clear IGD were 2.1% (n = 13); 16.3% of them showed a sub-clinical problematic Internet use, while full-criteria Internet addiction was found in 5.9% of the sample. IGD appears to be linked to various dysfunctional outcomes including a wide range of psychological symptoms and behavioral and social problems. Also, problematic video gamers tend to preferentially adopt dysfunctional coping strategies as distraction and avoidance, so VGs seem to represent a mean to cope with problems and difficulties.
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We really thank for the fieldwork and for some valuable suggestions of Chiara Di Marzo, Valeria D’Egidio, Martina Manfroi, Ludovica Rosano, and Cristina Sestili. We wish also to thank the following schools and their headmasters: IC “Franchi,” Brescia (Dr. Daniela Volpi); IC “D’Annunzio–Don Milani,” Catania (Dr. Salvatore Impellizzeri); IC “Corridoni–Meucci,” Catania (Dr. Antonia Maccarrone); IC “G. Paolo II,” Aci Catena–Aci San Filippo (Dr. Irene Patanè); and IC “R. Rimini,” Acitrezza–Ficarazzi (Dr. Concetta Valeria Aranzulla).
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.
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Milani, L., La Torre, G., Fiore, M. et al. Internet Gaming Addiction in Adolescence: Risk Factors and Maladjustment Correlates. Int J Ment Health Addiction 16, 888–904 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9750-2
- Internet gaming disorder
- Video Games
- Psychological adjustment