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Authors: Yeong Seon Jo, Soo Young Bhang, Jung-Seok Choi, Hae Kook Lee, Seung Yup Lee and Yong-Sil Kweon


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.


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.


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.


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.

Open access