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Balancing between prejudice and fact for Gaming Disorder: Does the existence of alcohol use disorder stigmatize healthy drinkers or impede scientific research?

Commentary on “Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal”

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Seung-Yup Lee, Hyekyung Choo and Hae Kook Lee

The inclusion of Gaming Disorder (GD) criteria in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) beta draft was recently criticized, and an argument was made for its removal to “avoid a waste of public resources.” However, these misleading statements are believed to be based on under estimation of this ever-growing problem. Such claims may endanger public health and the psychosocial well-being of affected individuals. Thus, the seriousness of the problem was briefly emphasized in our response paper. We provided an overview of how debates of this kind were developed in our region. In addition, we addressed the arguments made on research and children’s rights. The accusation that GD exerts negative impacts on children’s freedom and stigmatizes healthy gamers may arise from a false belief that this new digital media is benign or not addictive. Such statements could be true in some, but not all, cases. Unwillingness to recognize the addictive potential of gaming, as well as insistence on treating GD simply as an individual problem, are reminiscent of the era in which alcoholism was viewed as a personality problem. These dangerous views place affected individuals at greater health risk and further stigmatize them. Formalization of the disorder is also expected to help in standardization of research and treatment in the field. The inclusion of GD in the upcoming ICD-11 is a responsible step in the right direction.

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Objectives

Previous studies have reported an association between Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and depression, but the directionality of the relationship remains unclear. Therefore, we examined the reciprocal relationship between level of depressive symptoms and IGD among children in a longitudinal study.

Methods

Research panels for this study consisted of 366 elementary-school students in the iCURE study. All participants were current Internet users, so they could be considered an at-risk population for IGD. Self-reported severity of IGD features and level of depression were assessed by the Internet Game Use-Elicited Symptom Screen and Children’s Depression Inventory, respectively. Follow-up assessment was completed after 12 months. We fitted cross-lagged structural equation models to investigate the association between the two variables at two time points contemporaneously.

Results

The cross-lagged analysis revealed that level of depression at baseline significantly predicted severity of IGD features at the 12-month follow-up (β = 0.15, p = .003). Severity of IGD features at baseline also significantly predicted level of depression at the 12-month follow-up (β = 0.11, p = .018), controlling for possible confounding factors.

Conclusions

The cross-lagged path analysis indicates a reciprocal relationship between severity of IGD features and level of depressive symptoms. Understanding the reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and severity of IGD features can assist in interventions to prevent both conditions. These findings provide theoretical support for prevention and remediation plans for IGD and depressive symptoms among children.

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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Orsolya Király, Mark D. Griffiths, Daniel L. King, Hae-Kook Lee, Seung-Yup Lee, Fanni Bányai, Ágnes Zsila, Zsofia K. Takacs and Zsolt Demetrovics

Background and aims

Empirical research into problematic video game playing suggests that overuse might cause functional and psychological impairments for a minority of gamers. Therefore, the need for regulation in the case of video games (whether governmental or self-imposed) has arisen but has only been implemented in a few countries around the world, and predominantly in Asia. This paper provides a systematic review of current and potential policies addressing problematic gaming.

Methods

After conducting a systematic search in the areas of prevention, treatment, and policy measures relating to problematic Internet and video game use, papers were selected that targeted problematic gaming policies (N = 12; six in English and six in Korean). These papers served as the basis of this review.

Results

Policies were classified into three major groups: (i) policy measures limiting availability of video games (e.g., shutdown policy, fatigue system, and parental controls), (ii) measures aiming to reduce risk and harm (e.g., warning messages), and (iii) measures taken to provide help services for gamers. Beyond the attempt to classify the current and potential policy measures, the authors also tried to evaluate their efficiency theoretically and (if data were available) empirically.

Discussion and conclusions

Overall, it appears that although several steps have been taken to address problematic video game playing, most of these steps were not as effective as expected, or had not been evaluated empirically for efficacy. The reason for this may lie in the fact that the policies outlined only addressed or influenced specific aspects of the problem instead of using a more integrative approach.

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Abstract

Background and aim

Whereas many studies on Internet gaming disorder (IGD) have used self-report questionnaires, only a few have adopted clinical interviews and samples. The current study aimed at using data from face-to-face diagnostic interviews, based on the criteria for IGD in the DSM-5, to determine the Internet, gaming, and smartphone usage patterns of children and adolescents.

Methods

A latent class analysis was conducted using data collected through diagnostic interviews for Internet, gaming, and smartphone addiction with 190 participants (M = 13.14 years, SD = 2.46; 143 boys, 47 girls) who were part of a multicenter clinical cohort study.

Results

Participants were classified into four groups: pleasure-seeking (Class 1), internal-use (Class 2), problematic-use (Class 3), and pathological-use (Class 4). The pleasure-seeking group (8.11%) showed low tendencies in general and proper control. The internal-use group (17.63%) showed significant increases in “cognitive salience” and “craving,” with strong internal desires. The problematic-use group (37.28%) had no “interference with role performance”; however, they displayed “difficulty regulating use” and “persistent use despite negative consequences,” with a slight functional impairment. The pathological-use group (36.98%) scored the highest on all these items, revealing a severe functional impairment. Compared to the other groups, the pathological-use group had the highest depression and daily stress levels and displayed the lowest levels of happiness.

Conclusions

This study provides basic data to elucidate Internet, gaming, and smartphone overuse patterns among children and adolescents, which could be used to develop differentiated intervention strategies for each group.

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Abstract

Objectives

We examined serial mediating roles of low self-control and aggression in explaining relationships between levels of inattention and hyperactivity problems (IHPs) and severity of Internet gaming disorder (IGD) features when exposed to online games among adolescents without Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stratified by gender using three-wave longitudinal study.

Method

The sample comprised a total of 1,732 family dyads from a study that was conducted among seventh graders without diagnoses of ADHD at baseline. Levels of IHPs were assessed by the parent reported Korean version of the ADHD rating scale at baseline (wave1). Severity of IGD features was assessed by the Internet Game Use-Elicited Symptom Screen (IGUESS) at wave3. Both levels of self-control (wave1) and aggression (wave2) were assessed by self-report. The mediating role of low self-control and aggression in the relationships between level of IHPs and severity of IGD were evaluated using serial mediation analysis separately for each gender.

Results

Levels of IHPs were related directly to severity of IGD features in both genders. The indirect effects via low self-control were also significant in both genders, however, the indirect effects via aggression was significant only in women. The serial mediation effect via low self-control and aggression between levels of IHPs and IGD features was significant in both genders (men, coefficient:0.009, 95%CI 0.005–0.019; women, coefficient:0.010, 95%CI:0.005–0.026).

Conclusion

We revealed a possible mechanism underlying a serial mediation chain from low self-control to aggression explaining the effects of IHPs on severity of IGD features. However, this conclusion should be taken with a caution, because the effect sizes were very low.

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Functional impairment matters in the screening and diagnosis of gaming disorder

Commentary on: Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal (Aarseth et al.)

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Joël Billieux, Daniel L. King, Susumu Higuchi, Sophia Achab, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Wei Hao, Jiang Long, Hae Kook Lee, Marc N. Potenza, John B. Saunders and Vladimir Poznyak

This commentary responds to Aarseth et al.’s (in press) criticisms that the ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal would result in “moral panics around the harm of video gaming” and “the treatment of abundant false-positive cases.” The ICD-11 Gaming Disorder avoids potential “overpathologizing” with its explicit reference to functional impairment caused by gaming and therefore improves upon a number of flawed previous approaches to identifying cases with suspected gaming-related harms. We contend that moral panics are more likely to occur and be exacerbated by misinformation and lack of understanding, rather than proceed from having a clear diagnostic system.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: John B. Saunders, Wei Hao, Jiang Long, Daniel L. King, Karl Mann, Mira Fauth-Bühler, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Thomas Chung, Elda Chan, Norharlina Bahar, Sophia Achab, Hae Kook Lee, Marc Potenza, Nancy Petry, Daniel Spritzer, Atul Ambekar, Jeffrey Derevensky, Mark D. Griffiths, Halley M. Pontes, Daria Kuss, Susumu Higuchi, Satoko Mihara, Sawitri Assangangkornchai, Manoj Sharma, Ahmad El Kashef, Patrick Ip, Michael Farrell, Emanuele Scafato, Natacha Carragher and Vladimir Poznyak

Online gaming has greatly increased in popularity in recent years, and with this has come a multiplicity of problems due to excessive involvement in gaming. Gaming disorder, both online and offline, has been defined for the first time in the draft of 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). National surveys have shown prevalence rates of gaming disorder/addiction of 10%–15% among young people in several Asian countries and of 1%–10% in their counterparts in some Western countries. Several diseases related to excessive gaming are now recognized, and clinics are being established to respond to individual, family, and community concerns, but many cases remain hidden. Gaming disorder shares many features with addictions due to psychoactive substances and with gambling disorder, and functional neuroimaging shows that similar areas of the brain are activated. Governments and health agencies worldwide are seeking for the effects of online gaming to be addressed, and for preventive approaches to be developed. Central to this effort is a need to delineate the nature of the problem, which is the purpose of the definitions in the draft of ICD-11.

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Including gaming disorder in the ICD-11: The need to do so from a clinical and public health perspective

Commentary on: A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution (van Rooij et al., 2018)

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Sophia Achab, Joël Billieux, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Natacha Carragher, Zsolt Demetrovics, Susumu Higuchi, Daniel L. King, Karl Mann, Marc Potenza, John B. Saunders, Max Abbott, Atul Ambekar, Osman Tolga Aricak, Sawitri Assanangkornchai, Norharlina Bahar, Guilherme Borges, Matthias Brand, Elda Mei-Lo Chan, Thomas Chung, Jeff Derevensky, Ahmad El Kashef, Michael Farrell, Naomi A. Fineberg, Claudia Gandin, Douglas A. Gentile, Mark D. Griffiths, Anna E. Goudriaan, Marie Grall-Bronnec, Wei Hao, David C. Hodgins, Patrick Ip, Orsolya Király, Hae Kook Lee, Daria Kuss, Jeroen S. Lemmens, Jiang Long, Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, Satoko Mihara, Nancy M. Petry, Halley M. Pontes, Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Florian Rehbein, Jürgen Rehm, Emanuele Scafato, Manoi Sharma, Daniel Spritzer, Dan J. Stein, Philip Tam, Aviv Weinstein, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, Klaus Wölfling, Daniele Zullino and Vladimir Poznyak

The proposed introduction of gaming disorder (GD) in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) has led to a lively debate over the past year. Besides the broad support for the decision in the academic press, a recent publication by van Rooij et al. (2018) repeated the criticism raised against the inclusion of GD in ICD-11 by Aarseth et al. (2017). We argue that this group of researchers fails to recognize the clinical and public health considerations, which support the WHO perspective. It is important to recognize a range of biases that may influence this debate; in particular, the gaming industry may wish to diminish its responsibility by claiming that GD is not a public health problem, a position which maybe supported by arguments from scholars based in media psychology, computer games research, communication science, and related disciplines. However, just as with any other disease or disorder in the ICD-11, the decision whether or not to include GD is based on clinical evidence and public health needs. Therefore, we reiterate our conclusion that including GD reflects the essence of the ICD and will facilitate treatment and prevention for those who need it.

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