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Online gaming and internet gaming disorder in Iran: patterns, motivations, and correlates

Abstract

Online gaming may be associated with adverse outcomes in a minority of players. While some suggest that pathological patterns of online gaming are a public health concern in Iran, the evidence on pathological gaming among Iranian online gamers remains scarce. This study aims to investigate the patterns, motivations, and correlates of pathological online gaming in Iran. An online survey in Persian was performed among adult online gamers recruited across Iranian universities and social media. The 10-item Internet Gaming Disorder Test (IGDT-10) was used to screen for Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). Motivations for gaming were assessed using the Motives for Online Gaming Questionnaire (MOGQ) and correlated psychiatric symptoms were assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). After the estimation of descriptive statistics and bivariate tests, multivariate linear and logistic regressions were used to assess the correlates of the IGDT-10 score and IGD. A total of 791 individuals (75.4% men) responded to the survey. More than 5% played 42 h or more per week. Only 3.7% of respondents met the threshold for IGD. IGD was 9.4 times more common among male than female gamers. The most commonly endorsed criteria were “continuation”, “negative consequences”, and “preoccupation”. Younger age, time spent on gaming, using a PC instead of a smartphone for gaming, “escape” and “fantasy” gaming motivations and psychiatric symptoms were associated with the IGDT-10 score. A small minority of Iranian online gamers may be at risk of pathological gaming and its associated harms, especially younger gamers who play long hours and play with escapist and “fantasy”-related motivations. Further research is needed to elucidate the causes and consequences of gaming-related problems and to evaluate proposed diagnostic criteria and screening instruments.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported financially by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences through contract number 95-02-49-32102. We wish to thank Dr. Emitys Tavakoli, Ms. Kebria Adli, Mr. Shahab Baheshmat, and Ms. Roya Azadi for their assistance in conducting the study. Orsolya Király was supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and by the ÚNKP-21-5 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology from the source of the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund. Zsolt Demetrovics was supported by the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office (KKP126835; NKFIH-1157-8/2019-DT). These institutions had no role in the design, data collection, analysis and reporting of the present study.

Availability of Data and Material

The dataset analyzed during the current study is not publicly available to maintain participant anonymity, but anonymized data are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Author CRediT Statement

Hosein Rafiemanesh: Methodology, Software, Formal analysis, Data Curation, Writing - Original Draft.

Rabert Farnam: Supervision, Conceptualization, Project administration.

Arshiya Sangchooli: Writing - Original Draft, Writing - Review & Editing, Methodology.

Jamileh Rahimi: Investigation, Resources.

Marziyeh Hamzehzadeh: Investigation, Writing - Original Draft.

Kamyar Ghani: Writing - Original Draft.

Maral Mardaneh Jobehdar: Writing - Original Draft.

Masoumeh Amin-Esmaeili: Writing - Original Draft.

Behrang Shadloo: Supervision, Conceptualization.

Zsolt Demetrovics: Methodology, Conceptualization.

Orsolya Király: Methodology, Conceptualization.

Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar: Conceptualization, Project administration, Funding acquisition.

Funding

This study was supported financially by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences through contract number 95–02–49-32102. Orsolya Király was supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and by the ÚNKP-21-5 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology from the source of the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund. Zsolt Demetrovics was supported by the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office (KKP126835; NKFIH-1157-8/2019-DT). These institutions had no role in the design, data collection, analysis and reporting of the present study.

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Rafiemanesh, H., Farnam, R., Sangchooli, A. et al. Online gaming and internet gaming disorder in Iran: patterns, motivations, and correlates. Curr Psychol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02490-0

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Keywords

  • Pathological gaming
  • Psychometrics
  • Video games
  • Online gaming, internet gaming disorder