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Background and aims

The World Health Organization included gaming disorder (GD) in the eleventh revision of International Classification of Diseases in 2019. Due to the lack of diagnostic tools for GD, a definition has not been adequately applied. Therefore, this study aimed to apply an operationalized definition of GD to treatment-seekers. The relationship between the diagnoses of GD and Internet gaming disorder (IGD) in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was also examined. Methods: Study participants comprised 241 treatment-seekers who had engaged in excessive gaming and experienced related problems. Psychiatrists applied the GD diagnostic criteria to the participants using a diagnostic form developed for this study. Information on gaming behavior and functional impairment was obtained through face-to-face interviews conducted by clinical psychologists. Results: In total, 78.4 and 83.0% of the participants fulfilled the GD and IGD diagnostic criteria, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of GD diagnosis were both high when the IGD diagnosis was used as the gold standard. Participants with GD preferred online PC and console games, spent significantly more time gaming, and showed a higher level of functional impairment compared to those who did not fulfill the GD diagnostic criteria. Discussion and Conclusion: The definition of GD can be successfully applied to treatment-seekers with excessive gaming and related problems. A high concordance of GD and IGD diagnoses was found in those participants with relatively severe symptoms. The development and validation of a diagnostic tool for GD should be explored in future studies.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Susumu Higuchi, Yoneatsu Osaki, Aya Kinjo, Satoko Mihara, Masaki Maezono, Takashi Kitayuguchi, Takanobu Matsuzaki, Hideki Nakayama, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, and John B. Saunders


Background and Aims

A definition of gaming disorder (GD) was introduced in ICD-11. The purpose of this study was to develop a short screening test for GD, utilizing a reference GD group. It also sought to estimate the prevalence of GD among individuals, representative of the general young population in Japan.


Two hundred eighty one men and women selected from the general population, aged between 10 and 29 years, and 44 treatment seekers at our center completed a self-reported questionnaire comprising candidate questions for the screening test. The reference group with ICD-11 GD was established, based on face-to-face interviews with behavioral addiction experts, using a diagnostic interview instrument. The questions in the screening test were selected to best differentiate those who had GD from those who did not, and the cutoff value was determined using the Youden index.


A nine-item screening test (GAMES test) was developed. The sensitivity and specificity of the test were both 98% and the positive predictive value in the study sample was 91%. The GAMES test comprised two factors, showed high internal consistency and was highly reproducible. The estimated prevalence of GD among the general young population was 7.6% (95% confidence interval; 6.6–8.7%) for males and 2.5% (1.9–3.2%) for females, with a combined prevalence of 5.1% (4.5–5.8%).

Discussion and Conclusion

The GAMES test shows high validity and reliability for screening of ICD-11 GD. The estimated prevalence of 5.1% among the general young population was comparable to the pooled estimates of young people globally.

Open access