Association between Internet gaming disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (2017)

J Behav Addict. 2017 Dec 1;6(4):564-571. doi: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.088.

Wang CY1, Wu YC2, Su CH3, Lin PC3, Ko CH3,4,5, Yen JY3,5,6.



This study evaluates the association between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and the role of behavior inhibition in young adults.


We recruited 87 people with IGD and a control group of 87 people without a history of IGD. All participants underwent a diagnostic interview based on the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IGD and GAD criteria, and completed a questionnaire on behavior inhibition, depression, and anxiety.


Logistic regression revealed that adults with GAD were more likely (odds ratio = 8.11, 95% CI = 1.78-37.09) to have IGD than those without it. The OR decreased when controlling for behavior inhibition. IGD subjects with GAD had higher depressive and anxiety score than those without GAD.


GAD was associated with IGD. Comorbid GAD can contribute to higher emotional difficulty. GAD should be well-assessed and interventions planned when treating young adults with IGD. Behavioral inhibition confounds the association between GAD and IGD. Further study is necessary to evaluate how to intervene in behavioral inhibitions to attenuate the risk of GAD and IGD comorbidity.

KEYWORDS: Internet gaming disorder; behavior inhibition; comorbidity; generalized anxiety disorder

PMID: 29280398

DOI: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.088