Internet Gaming Disorder: A Deeper Look into Addiction vs. High Engagement

Internet Gaming Disorder: A Deeper Look into Addiction vs. High Engagement

Mario Lehenbauer-Baum (Sigmund Freud Private University, Austria) and Martina Fohringer (University of Vienna, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0778-9.ch001
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Abstract

Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was introduced in the recent DSM-V as a condition needing more research. Therefore, this chapter contributes to this discussion by a summary of recent research findings and introduces an empirical study concerning differences between an engaged and a problematic use of games. We surveyed 577 participants (mean age 24.38 years; 77.1% male) from German speaking areas. We used a gaming addiction questionnaire and the Internet Addiction Scale (ISS-20). 93.7% are high-level player (level 85); 3.1% are addicted according to the ISS-20. We found 2 factors explaining “addiction” and “engagement”. Addicted players spend more time per week playing online with 31.31 hours/week compared to highly engaged players with 22.19 hours/week (p < .001), have higher scores in the Internet addiction scale (p < .001), and significantly lower scores in scales measuring the quality of life (p < .001). Therefore we conclude that items tapping euphoria and cognitive salience are of limited use when it comes to a classification of IGD.
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1. Introduction

“Her child is like a drug addict — at age 12. His drug of choice is computer games” (Hansen, 2014), “5 warning signs of gaming addiction” (Sutter, 2014), “Increasing number of students addicted to online-gaming!” (Chieh-liang, 2014); these media articles are three recent examples from 2014. They confirm that addiction is still one of the most frequently mentioned terms in connection with the Internet and online-based video games. Accordingly, over the last decade news and research articles concentrated on the idea that the involvement of people with the Internet or digital games can become so intense that it appears addictive. However, despite this increased media and research interest, there are a lot of people who are using video games without any negative consequences. Therefore, it is still unclear where to draw the line; the current chapter contributes to this discussion by a summary of recent research findings and an empirical study concerning differences between a) the still beneficial and joyful (engaged) and b) a problematic or maladaptive (addicted) use of online-games.

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