Adolescent Problematic Gaming and Domain-Specific Perceptions of Self

Adolescent Problematic Gaming and Domain-Specific Perceptions of Self

Devin J. Mills (McGill University, Canada), Jessica Mettler (McGill University, Canada), Michael J. Sornberger (Hull Services, Canada) and Nancy L. Heath (McGill University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7909-0.ch077
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Problematic video game use (PVGU) is an inability to meet personal and social responsibilities due to video gaming. It is estimated to affect 5 to 6% of adolescents. Research demonstrates greater video game engagement is associated with a poorer perception of self in several domains; however, the relation between PVGU and self-perception has not yet been examined. The present study explored this association using a sample of 758 Grade 7 adolescents (55.1% Female; Mage = 12.34 years; SD = 0.49 years). Results revealed greater PVGU to be associated with a poorer perception of self within the behavioural conduct and close friendship domains. Similar differences emerged when examining reports of self-perception across the PVGU classifications (i.e., None, Minimal, At-Risk, Problematic). Unexpectedly, two interactions between gender and PVGU classifications were observed for the behavioural conduct and self-worth domains of self-perception. The discussion addresses the implications of these findings and points to areas of future research.
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Problematic video game use (PVGU) manifests itself in the inability to meet social and personal responsibilities. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), PVGU is proposed as an emerging construct meriting further study under the name of Internet Gaming Disorder, however, the proposal states that non-Internet video games may as well be included. Nine criterion are included with this proposal. Petry and colleagues (2014) provide a brief review of the proposed criteria which include all six components of Griffiths' (2005) biopsychosocial framework of behavioural addictions (salience, mood modification, conflict, relapse, withdrawal, and tolerance). Although individuals may report anywhere from zero to nine symptoms, the proposed cutoff to be considered as a “problematic gamer” is five or more symptoms. Research using representative samples as well as the DSM-5 proposed criteria has found PVGU may affect 5% to 6% of adolescents (Lemmens, Valkenburg, & Gentile, 2015; Rehbein, Kliem, Baier, Mößle, & Petry, 2015). More recently, research has begun to identify a variety of variables differentiating problematic gamers from other gamers, and even non-gamers. Building upon this area of research, Evans, Noam, Wertlieb, Paget, and Wolf (1994) suggest that a measure of self-perception may be helpful in identifying individuals' strengths and weaknesses from their own perspective. In the present study, reports of self-perception across several domains pertinent to the period of adolescence were explored in relation to the report of problematic gaming symptoms. The present paper is the first to explore self-perception within the emerging field of problematic gaming.

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