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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Oct;8(10):3979-98. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8103979. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Playing video games while using or feeling the effects of substances: associations with substance use problems.

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  • 1School of Social Work, Adelphi University, 1 South Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530, USA.


This study tested the hypothesis that playing video games while using or feeling the effects of a substance--referred to herein as "concurrent use"-is related to substance use problems after controlling for substance use frequency, video gaming as an enthusiastic hobby, and demographic factors. Data were drawn from a nationally representative online survey of adult video gamers conducted by Knowledge Networks, valid n = 2,885. Problem video game playing behavior was operationalized using Tejeiro Salguero and Bersabé Morán's 2002 problem video game play (PVP) measure, and measures for substance use problems were taken from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Separate structural equation modeling analyses were conducted for users of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. In all four models, concurrent use was directly associated with substance use problems, but not with PVP. Video gaming as an enthusiastic hobby was associated with substance use problems via two indirect paths: through PVP for all substances, and through concurrent use for caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol only. Results illustrate the potential for "drug interaction" between self-reinforcing behaviors and addictive substances, with implications for the development of problem use.


addiction; alcohol; caffeine; dependence; marijuana; tobacco; video games

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