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Comput Human Behav. 2017 Mar;68:472-479. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.060. Epub 2016 Dec 1.

Video Gaming in a Hyperconnected World: A Cross-sectional Study of Heavy Gaming, Problematic Gaming Symptoms, and Online Socializing in Adolescents.

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1
Drs. Michelle Colder Carras, Tamar Mendelson, and Rashelle Musci are with the Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Drs. Antonius Van Rooij and Dike Van de Mheen are with IVO Addiction Research Institute in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Erasmus MC, University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. Van Rooij is also with iMinds-MICT-Ghent University, Department of Communication Sciences in Belgium and Dr. Van de Mheen is with Maastricht University, Department of Health Promotion in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Dr. Qian-Li Xue is with the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and the Center on Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland.

Abstract

AIMS:

Examining online social interactions along with patterns of video gaming behaviors and game addiction symptoms has the potential to enrich our understanding of disorders related to excessive video game play.

METHODS:

We performed latent class analysis in a sample of 9733 adolescents based on heavy use of games, social networking and instant messaging, and game addiction symptoms. We used latent class regression to determine associations between classes, psychosocial well-being and friendship quality.

RESULTS:

We identified two types of heavy gaming classes that differed in probability of online social interaction. Classes with more online social interaction reported fewer problematic gaming symptoms than those with less online social interaction. Most adolescents estimated to be in heavy gaming classes had more depressive symptoms than normative classes. Male non-social gamers had more social anxiety. Female social gamers had less social anxiety and loneliness, but lower self-esteem. Friendship quality attenuated depression in some male social gamers, but strengthened associations with loneliness in some male non-social gamers.

CONCLUSIONS:

In adolescents, symptoms of video game addiction depend not only on video game play but also on concurrent levels of online communication, and those who are very socially active online report fewer symptoms of game addiction.

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