The Association Between Video Gaming and Psychological video game addiction scholarly articles Functioning
The Association Between Video Gaming and Psychological video game addiction scholarly articles Functioning
We administered the German version of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale . The 10 items were answered on a 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 4 . Cronbach’s alpha was excellent . A 10-item measure of preference for solitude was answered on a 6-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 6 . Cronbach’s alpha was excellent . We administered the perceived available social support subscale from the Berlin Social Support Scales . The 8 items were answered on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 5 . Cronbach’s alpha was excellent . Participants indicated how many offline friends and offline acquaintances they had as well as how many online friends and online acquaintances they had . Due to left-skewed distributions, we logarithmized the data before aggregation. 2 Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany First, we examined whether potentially problematic video game use was related to various psychological functioning variables. As can be seen in Table 1 , the results for the zero-order correlations were similar to those for the partial correlations in which we controlled for sex and age. A medium-sized positive relation to the potentially problematic use of video games emerged for the presence of psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety, and hostility. Furthermore, several coping strategies were differentially associated with the potentially problematic use of video games: Self-blame and behavioral disengagement showed the strongest positive relations to potentially problematic video game use, followed by denial, acceptance, substance use, self-distraction, and venting. Planning, active coping, and, to a lesser extent, positive reframing were negatively associated with the potentially problematic use of video games. Moreover, the association with potentially problematic video game use was negative for general positive affect and positive and larger in size for general negative affect. However, potentially problematic video game use was clearly positively associated with the experience of both positive and negative affect while playing. Further, a preference for solitude, shyness, and loneliness were positively correlated with the potentially problematic use of video games. Lower self-esteem, lower life satisfaction, and, to a lesser extent, poorer perceived social support and lower self-efficacy went along with potentially problematic video game use. There was an association between fewer offline friends and acquaintances but more online connections with potentially problematic video gaming. Finally, poorer performance in school was related to the potentially problematic use of video games. These results suggest that potentially problematic video gaming goes along with poor psychological functioning and vice versa. Participants answered a one-item life satisfaction measure on a 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 4 . Additionally, we included analyses regarding sex and age differences in the link between video gaming and psychological functioning. Since we collected a self-selected sample where different sexes and age groups were not represented equally, our findings are only preliminary, but may stimulate future research. The presented results are generally in line with previous work that has identified a connection between video gaming and psychological health, academic problems, and social problems . However, our study moved beyond prior research by providing in-depth analyses of both video gaming habits and psychological functioning . In addition, we identified unique predictors of potentially problematic video game use. 8600 Rockville Pike , Bethesda MD , 20894 USA Associations between potentially problematic video gaming and psychological functioning. A video game is defined as “a game which we play thanks to an audiovisual apparatus and which can be based on a story” . In the last few years, the amount of scientific research devoted to video game playing has increased . Most scientific studies in this area of research have focused on the extent of video game play and its diverse correlates. While some researchers have emphasized the benefits of game playing and even suggested a therapeutic use of video games , others have been intrigued by its potential dangers . When is it appropriate to speak of video game addiction? More and more researchers have suggested a continuum between engagement and pathological gaming/addiction, instead of a categorical perspective. In part, this recommendation has also been followed in the DSM-5 where Internet Gaming Disorder is classified with different degrees of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe, according to the functional impairment associated with it. The AICA-S also allows for a differential perspective on gaming behavior by providing ways to assess both the time spent playing video games and the main DSM criteria that indicate Internet Gaming Disorder. However, in our study we did not aim at making a diagnosis, but at having a closer look at potentially problematic gaming behavior and its correlates in a non-clinical sample. We administered a 10-item generalized self-efficacy scale , which was answered on a 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 4 . Cronbach’s alpha was excellent .
Typically, research has focused merely on violent video games or one specific game within one specific game genre , thereby neglecting the variety of possible gaming habits across various game genres. In addition to looking at problematic video game use and its relation to psychological functioning, it is relevant to also focus on why individuals play video games. Players use video games for very different reasons such as to distract themselves from daily hassles or because they enjoy the social relationships they have developed in the virtual world. Potentially problematic video gaming has been found to be related to various reasons for playing such as coping and escape , socialization , and personal satisfaction . Coping , social interaction, and competition were among the main reasons for gaming among males but not among females . Mixed results emerged concerning age differences , but especially younger gamers seemed to be motivated for video gaming by social interactions . However, so far it remains unclear to what extent people’s various reasons for playing video games are differentially related to their psychological functioning. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. 2 Other measures were administered, but they were not relevant to the present research questions and are thus not mentioned in this paper. The data set and analysis script supporting the conclusions of this manuscript can be retrieved from sf.io/emrpw/?view_only=856491775efe4f99b407e258c2f2fa8d . Video gaming is a very popular leisure activity among adults . The amount of time spent playing video games has increased steadily, from 5.1 h/week in 2011 to 6.5 h/week in 2017 . Video gaming is known to have some benefits such as improving focus, multitasking, and working memory, but it may also come with costs when it is used heavily. By spending a predominant part of the day gaming, excessive video gamers are at risk of showing lower educational and career attainment, problems with peers, and lower social skills . On the one hand, video game use is widespread, and it may come with certain precursors as well as consequences. On the other hand, little is known about the relations between various video gaming habits and psychological functioning. This study aims to shed light on these important relations using a large sample. 2 Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany We measured general affect as a trait and affect during video gaming as a state using the German version of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule . On a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 5 , participants rated the intensity of 20 adjectives. Cronbach’s alpha was α = 0.78 for general positive affect, α = 0.83 for general negative affect, α = 0.85 for positive affect while playing, and α = 0.83 for negative affect while playing. Besides investigating the links between potentially problematic video game use and psychological functioning as well as between reasons for playing video games and psychological functioning, it is relevant to also look at which game genres individuals prefer. Correlates of preferences for certain game genres are cognitive enhancement , but also the amount of time spent playing and psychopathological symptoms . Males were shown to prefer action and strategy games, whereas females showed a preference for games of skill . Younger gamers seemed to prefer action games, older players more so games of skill . However, it is not yet understood to what extent preferences for certain video game genres are differentially related to psychological functioning. Gamers were asked how often they usually played various video game subgenres such as first-person shooter, round-based strategy, massively multiplayer online role-playing games , life simulations, and others. Ratings were made on Likert scales ranging from 1 to 4 . Using Apperley’s classification of game genres, we categorized the subgenres into the main genres action , strategy , role-playing , and simulation . A cluster for unclassified subgenres was added to additionally account for such subgenres as jump’n’runs and games of skill. Descriptive statistics and intercorrelations for all measures are presented in Supplementary Tables S1–S4 . Parents and professionals may be worried about their excessively playing children being “addicted.” However, problematic and potentially addictive video game use goes beyond the extent of playing . It also includes such issues as craving, loss of control, and negative consequences of excessive gaming. While it is still a matter of debate whether problematic video game play should be considered a behavioral addiction , its status as a mental disorder has been clarified since the release of the DSM-5 in 2013. In the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association defined Internet Gaming Disorder with diagnostic criteria closely related to Gambling Disorder. Generally, this decision has been supported by many researchers but has also caused controversies. Researchers have criticized the selection of diagnostic criteria and the vague definition of the Internet Gaming Disorder construct, which excludes offline games from being related to addictive use . With the present study, we aimed to uncover the association between video gaming and psychological functioning. Our approach was cross-sectional and warrants interpretative caution because correlations cannot determine the direction of causation. It remains unclear whether potentially problematic gaming is a factor that contributes to the development of psychological dysfunction or whether psychological dysfunction contributes to potentially problematic gaming. Also, a third factor may produce both psychological dysfunction and potentially problematic gaming. Thus, longitudinal studies that are designed to identify the causal pathway may provide a promising avenue for future research. Future studies may also answer the question whether the link between video gaming and psychological functioning is moderated by sex, age, the reasons for playing, or the preferred game genre. In addition, it is important not to forget that the present results are based on a self-selected sample in which potentially problematic video gamers were overrepresented . Thus, future research should replicate our findings in a representative sample. Further, we relied on self-reported data, which is a plausible method for assessing inner affairs such as people’s reasons for their behaviors, but it would be helpful to back up our findings with evidence derived from sources such as peers, caregivers, and health specialists. Our work reflects only a first approach to the topic, and future work may additionally collect in-game behavioral data from the players to objectively and more specifically investigate diverse patterns of use. Furthermore, one must not forget that the used taxonomy to classify video game genres is only one of various possible options and one should “think of each individual game as belonging to several genres at once” . Finally, some of the effects reported in our paper were rather modest in size. This is not surprising considering the complexity and multiple determinants of human behavior. In our analyses, we thoroughly controlled for the influence of sex and age and still found evidence that video gaming was differentially related to measures of psychological functioning. Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More . Video gaming is an extremely popular leisure-time activity with more than two billion users worldwide . However, the media as well as professionals have underscored the potential dangers of excessive video gaming. With the present research, we aimed to shed light on the relation between video gaming and gamers’ psychological functioning. Questionnaires on personality and psychological health as well as video gaming habits were administered to 2,734 individuals . Results revealed a medium-sized negative correlation between problematic video gaming and psychological functioning with regard to psychological symptoms, affectivity, coping, and self-esteem. Moreover, gamers’ reasons for playing and their preferred game genres were differentially related to psychological functioning with the most notable findings for distraction-motivated players as well as action game players. Future studies are needed to examine whether these psychological health risks reflect the causes or consequences of video gaming. Several studies, literature reviews, and meta-analyses have focused on the correlates of problematic video gaming, usually assessed as a continuum with addiction marking the upper end of the scale . The degree of addictive video game use has been found to be related to personality traits such as low self-esteem and low self-efficacy , anxiety, and aggression , and even to clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders . Potential consequences of video game use have been identified as well, such as a lack of real-life friends , stress and maladaptive coping , lower psychosocial well-being and loneliness , psychosomatic problems , and decreased academic achievement . Effect sizes have varied widely across studies . There seem to be sex and age differences with regard to video gaming behavior: potentially problematic video gaming was found to be more likely among males than females , video game addiction scholarly articles and among younger gamers . The measure for the assessment of shyness in adults consists of 5 items that were answered on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 5 . Cronbach’s alpha was excellent . Associations between preferred video game genre and psychological functioning. In a first step, we computed zero-order correlations between the video gaming variables and the measures of psychological functioning. In a second step, we computed partial correlations in which we controlled for sex and age because past research has repeatedly shown that sex and age are correlated with both video gaming and psychological functioning . Finally, we explored the unique contribution of each measure of psychological functioning to the prediction of potentially problematic video gaming. Therefore, we computed regressions with potentially problematic video gaming as the dependent variable and sex, age, and the measures of psychological functioning as predictors . By employing this procedure, we were able to determine the effect that each variable had over and above the other ones. For instance, we could identify whether general psychopathology was predictive of potentially problematic video game use when the influence of all other variables was held constant. The SCL-K-9 , a short version of the SCL-90-R , was administered to assess participants’ subjective impairment regarding psychological symptoms . The SCL-K-9 score is strongly correlated with the original score of the SCL-90-R . The 9 items were answered on 5-point Likert-type scales ranging from 1 to 5 . Cronbach’s alpha was satisfactory . BB, BE, JH, and KM conceived and designed the study. BB, JH, and KM collected and prepared the data. JH analyzed the data. BE and JH wrote the manuscript. 1 Department of Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany The AICA-S, the Scale for the Assessment of Internet and Computer game Addiction , was used to assess participants’ gaming behavior with regard to potential problematic use. Based on the DSM criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder , this standardized self-report scale consists of 15 items usually with a five-point scale ranging from 1 to 5 . The final score is computed using weighted scoring . The AICA-S score can be used to differentiate between regular and problematic use of video games . In our sample, N = 2,265 were identified as regular gamers, and N = 469 as problematic gamers. We used the AICA-S as a continuous variable for all further analyses . The instrument has been validated for different age groups in the general population and in clinical samples . Cronbach’s alpha was α = 0.70. As expected, the AICA-S score was correlated with male sex and age . On average, participants played video games for M = 4.09 hours per weekday , and M = 4.21 h per day at the weekend . Gamers indicated how often they played video games for certain reasons. They rated each of 10 reasons separately on Likert scales ranging from 1 to 4 . The most prevalent reasons were relaxation , amusement , and because of the storyline . We administered the German version of the NYU Loneliness Scale . The 4 items were answered on 5- to 6-point Likert-type scales. Cronbach’s alpha was satisfactory . The Association Between Video Gaming and Psychological video game addiction scholarly articles Functioning
The Association Between Video Gaming and Psychological video game addiction scholarly articles Functioning
Second, we investigated whether players’ reasons for playing video games were differentially related to the psychological functioning variables. Table 2 presents the partial correlations, controlling for sex and age. Using video games to distract oneself from stress was clearly connected to a high level of psychological symptoms. Distraction-motivated gamers preferred coping strategies such as self-blame, behavioral disengagement, self-distraction, denial, substance use, venting, and acceptance, but they neglected active coping and planning. They showed less general positive affect and more negative affect both in general and while playing as well as more positive affect while playing. These gamers further reported low self-esteem and low life satisfaction, loneliness, a preference for solitude, shyness, a lack of self-efficacy and social support, and poor achievement in school. A similar but somewhat less extreme picture was revealed for gamers who played video games in order to have something to talk about . However, these gamers reported more online connections. Gamers who played video games to improve their real-life abilities also reported more online connections. In addition, these gamers showed higher levels of general positive affect. The strongest association with online friends and acquaintances emerged, as expected, for gamers who played because of the social relations in the virtual world. Although all reasons for playing video games were related to positive affect while playing, the strongest associations emerged for gamers who played because of the social relations , to stimulate their imagination , and for curiosity . It is interesting that, for gamers who played video games because of the storyline and for relaxation , there was a relation only to positive but not to negative affect while playing. Reasons for playing were only weakly related to sex and age . In sum, several reasons for playing video games were differentially associated with psychological functioning. 1 The data were gathered as part of a larger project . However, the analyses in the present article do not overlap with analyses from previous work. In a final step, we entered all of the investigated psychological functioning variables as well as sex and age as predictors of the potentially problematic use of video games. By employing this procedure, we were able to determine the unique contribution of each psychological functioning variable when the influence of all other variables was held constant. As Table 4 shows, the number of online friends and acquaintances as well as positive affect while playing were most predictive of potentially problematic video game use over and above all other variables. General psychopathology, a lack of offline connections, and poor school performance were weaker but still relevant predictors of potentially problematic video game use. Participants reported their grade point average. German grades are assessed on a scale that ranges from 1 to 6 . Thus, higher scores indicate worse grades. We posted links to our online questionnaire on various online forums as well as on popular online game sites. To achieve heterogeneity of the sample, no exclusion criteria other than having access to the Internet and understanding German were specified. As an incentive to participate in the study, four vouchers of 50€ were raffled. Prediction of potentially problematic video game use by psychological functioning variables. In the present study, our objective was to examine the relation between video gaming and psychological functioning in a fine-grained manner. For this purpose, we examined psychological functioning by employing various variables such as psychological symptoms, coping strategies, and social support. Likewise, we assessed video gaming in a similarly detailed way, ranging from problematic video game use, the reasons for playing, to the preferred game genres. This strategy prevented us from making potentially invalid generalizations about video gaming in general and allowed us to examine the spectrum of gaming habits and the respective relations between such habits and a diverse set of variables representing psychological functioning. With this study, we aimed to shed light on the association of diverse video gaming habits with gamers’ psychological functioning. Drawing on a large sample, our results revealed a medium-sized relation between potentially problematic video game use and poor psychological functioning with regard to general psychological symptoms, maladaptive coping strategies, negative affectivity, low self-esteem, and a preference for solitude as well as poor school performance. These findings are in line with those of prior work . Also, reasons for playing video games were differentially related to psychological functioning with the most pronounced findings for escape-oriented in contrast to gain-oriented motives. Specifically, distraction-motivated gaming went along with higher symptom ratings, lower self-esteem, and more negative affectivity, whereas playing to establish social relationships in the virtual world was related to a larger number of online connections and more positive affect while playing. Furthermore, there were only weak relations between the preferred game genres and psychological functioning. The action games genre was associated with the strongest ratings of affect while playing. These results on reasons and genres may help to explain conflicting findings of former studies, because in our work we examined various reasons for playing, several game genres, and various aspects of psychological functioning simultaneously. Finally, positive affect while playing and a larger number of online friends were the strongest unique predictors of potentially problematic video game use, followed by psychological symptoms, a lack of offline connections, and poor school performance. These findings suggest that, on the one hand, independent of one’s psychological conditions, enjoying oneself during gaming may go along with potentially problematic use of video games. On the other hand, poor psychological functioning seems to be a unique risk factor for potentially problematic video gaming. In our online survey, participants were given information on voluntary participation, risks, confidentiality/anonymity, and right to withdraw. Whilst participants were not signing a separate consent form, consent was obtained by virtue of completion. We implemented agreed procedures to maintain the confidentiality of participant data. Participants provided ratings of their psychological functioning on the following constructs: Associations between reasons for playing video games and psychological functioning. The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: sin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01731/full#supplementary-material Playing video games excessively should be appealing to individuals with poor psychological functioning because games allow people to avoid their everyday problems and instead immerse themselves in another environment . Moreover, video games offer people a chance to connect with other people socially despite any more or less evident psychological problems they may have . On the other hand, potentially problematic video game use may also lead to psychological problems because it reduces the amount of time and the number of opportunities gamers have to practice real-life behavior . Thus, we expected to find a negative correlation between problematic video gaming and variables representing psychological functioning such that we expected more potentially problematic video game use to be related to dysfunctional coping strategies , negative affectivity , and poor school performance . Moreover, we expected to find differential correlates of people’s reasons for playing video games and their psychological functioning: Playing for escape-oriented reasons such as distraction should go along with diverse indices of poor psychological functioning , whereas playing for gain-oriented reasons such as the storyline or the social connections in the game should be related to adequate psychological functioning . Also, we expected to find people’s preferred game genres to be differentially related to their psychological functioning . Finally, we aimed to shed light on the unique contribution of each measure of psychological functioning to the prediction of problematic video game use. A total of N = 2,891 individuals with a mean age of 23.17 years participated in our study. Of these participants, N = 2,734 confirmed their use of video games and were thus included in further analyses . The distribution of participants with regard to sex and age mirrors the findings of past research with males and younger individuals being more likely to play video games . Participants’ place of residence was Germany. How can the findings on differential relations between video gaming and various indices of psychological functioning – ranging from beneficial results to unfavorable results – be integrated? According to Kanfer and Phillips , problematic behavior can be understood as a function of the situation ; the organism ; the person’s thoughts, physical reactions, and feelings ; and finally, the short- as well as long-term consequences of the behavior . In the short run, according to our results, playing video games may be a way to distract oneself from everyday hassles and may lead to positive affect while playing and a feeling of being connected to like-minded people, all of which are factors that have an immediate reinforcing value. In the long run, however, spending many hours per day in front of a computer screen may prevent a person from developing and practicing functional coping strategies, finding friends and support in the social environment, and showing proper school achievement, factors that are potentially harmful to the person. Thus, differentiating between short- and long-term perspectives may help us understanding the differential correlates of intensive video gaming. 1 Department of Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany In sum, it seems relevant to assess not only the extent of video game use but also the reasons behind this behavior and the concrete rewards that come from playing to fully understand the relation between video gaming and psychological functioning. Participants further reported their sex and age. Both were used as control variables in further analyses. The current study adds to the knowledge on gaming by uncovering the specific relations between video gaming and distinct measures of psychological functioning. Potentially problematic video gaming was found to be associated with positive affect and social relationships while playing but also with psychological symptoms, maladaptive coping strategies, negative affectivity, low self-esteem, a preference for solitude, and poor school performance. Including gamers’ reasons for playing video games and their preferred game genres helped deepen the understanding of the specific and differential associations between video gaming and psychological health. video game news articles