New Concepts, Old Known Issues: The DSM-5 and Internet Gaming Disorder and its Assessment

New Concepts, Old Known Issues: The DSM-5 and Internet Gaming Disorder and its Assessment

Halley M. Pontes (Nottingham Trent University, UK) and Mark D. Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0778-9.ch040


Background: Following the growing concern about ‘gaming addiction', the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and numerous scholars have suggested the need for unification and consensus for the assessment of gaming addiction, which is now possible given the recent formal recognition of ‘Internet Gaming Disorder' (IGD) by the APA since its inclusion in the DSM-5. Aims: In light of this, the aim of this chapter is to present the main findings concerning the development of the Internet Gaming Disorder Test (IGD-20 Test) and the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale – Short-Form (IGDS9-SF), two newly developed psychometric tools aimed to measure the extent of gaming disorder in online and/or offline players. Conclusions: The present findings support the viability of the two newly developed measures as adequate standardized psychometrically robust tools for assessing internet gaming disorder. Consequently, the new instruments represent the first step towards unification and consensus in the field of gaming studies.
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A relatively large body of research suggests that playing video games has been associated with several positive outcomes when performed in a healthy and balanced way. In a recent study using a nationally representative sample of 4,899 British children and young adolescents gamers and non-gamers (Przybylski, 2014), it was found that low levels of gaming (i.e., < 1 hour of gameplay/day) was associated with higher levels of prosocial behaviors, augmented life satisfaction, and lower levels of internalizing and externalizing problems in comparison to non-gamers. Furthermore, low levels of game engagement accounted for between .5% and .9% of variability in positive psychosocial indicators and between .5% and 1.3% of variability in negative indicators of adjustment. In another recent study (Jackson et al., 2012), using a small-sized sample (N = 491) of children with mean age of 12 years from the US, it was found that irrespective of the type of videogame played, videogame playing was able to predict creativity. Furthermore, Jackson et al. (2012) concluded that regardless of gender or race, greater videogame playing was linked to greater levels of creativity on different levels.

A study conducted by Ewoldsen et al. (2012) aimed to explore the effects of violent gameplay when played cooperatively and competitively in eliciting subsequent cooperative behaviors in a sample of 119 undergraduate students. In this study, four between-subject conditions were used: (i) direct competition, (ii) indirect competition, (iii) cooperation, and the (iv) control to assess subsequent levels of a behavioral measure of cooperation between participants. Based on the study’s results, it was demonstrated that participants in the cooperation condition showed significantly more use of tit-for-tat strategies than participants pertaining to the other two competition conditions, which led the researchers to conclude that playing violent games cooperatively increased the use of tit-for-tat strategies, therefore leading to a possible increase in the likelihood of subsequent cooperative behaviors.

In addition to the aforementioned potential positive outcomes, videogame playing has also been linked with increased selective attention in action video game players (Bavelier, Achtman, Mani, & Föcker, 2012), attenuation of cognitive decline in older adults (Basak, Boot, Voss, & Kramer, 2008), enhancement of mental rotation skills in children (De Lisi & Wolford, 2002) and adolescents (Okagaki & Frensch, 1994), alongside general overall improvement of spatial cognition in adolescents and adults (Feng, Spence, & Pratt, 2007). There is also a large literature on the use of video games for educational, medical, and therapeutic purposes (Griffiths, 2010; Griffiths, Kuss, & Ortiz de Gortari, 2013).

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