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Am J Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 1;174(3):230-236. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16020224. Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Internet Gaming Disorder: Investigating the Clinical Relevance of a New Phenomenon.

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From the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; the School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom; the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom; and Kochi University of Technology, Kochi, Japan.



The American Psychiatric Association (APA) identified Internet gaming disorder as a new potential psychiatric disorder and has recognized that little is known about the prevalence, validity, or cross-cultural robustness of proposed Internet gaming disorder criteria. In response to this gap in our understanding, the present study, a first for this research topic, estimated the period prevalence of this new potential psychiatric disorder using APA guidance, examined the validity of its proposed indicators, evaluated reliability cross-culturally and across genders, compared it to gold-standard research on gambling addiction and problem gaming, and estimated its impact on physical, social, and mental health.


Four survey studies (N=18,932) with large international cohorts employed an open-science methodology wherein the analysis plans for confirmatory hypotheses were registered prior to data collection.


Among those who played games, more than 2 out of 3 did not report any symptoms of Internet gaming disorder, and findings showed that a very small proportion of the general population (between 0.3% and 1.0%) might qualify for a potential acute diagnosis of Internet gaming disorder. Comparison to gambling disorder revealed that Internet-based games may be significantly less addictive than gambling and similarly dysregulating as electronic games more generally.


The evidence linking Internet gaming disorder to game engagement was strong, but links to physical, social, and mental health outcomes were decidedly mixed.


Computers; Diagnosis And Classification; Tests/Interviews-Psychometric

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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