Front Psychol. 2019 Apr 26;10:911. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00911. eCollection 2019.
Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was recently included as a condition for further study in the fifth and latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The present study investigated whether the IGD criteria comprise a unidimensional construct. Data stemmed from a sample of Norwegians aged 17.5 years in 2012 and 19.5 years in 2014 (N = 1258). The study used the Mokken scale analysis to investigate whether the score of the different items on the IGD scale measured a single latent variable and if the scale functions differently for males and females. Correlation analysis was conducted between the scores on the IGD scale (count) and the Gaming Addiction Scale for Adolescents (GASA, categorical), both assessed in 2014. Negative binomial regression analyses were applied in order to investigate how different predictors of mental health assessed in 2012 were associated with IGD assessed in 2014. The Mokken scale analysis showed that all item-coefficients of homogeneity exceeded 0.3 when the whole sample completed the scale and when females completed the scale, indicating that the items reflect a single latent variable. In both cases moderate (H > 0.40) unidimensionality was shown. The item measuring “tolerance” did not exceed 0.3 in the scale when completed by males, indicating that only eight out of nine items reflect a single latent variable when applied to males only. The eight-item scale containing males showed weak (H > 0.30) unidimensionality. The correlation analysis showed a positive correlation between the scores on the IGD scale and the GASA (r = 0.71, p < 0.01) when assessed simultaneously and a positive but lower correlation (r = 0.48, p < 0.01) when assessed longitudinally. Results from the negative binomial regression analysis showed that previous video-game addiction, being male, depression, aggression and loneliness were significant predictors of IGD. The associations were small for all independent variables except previous video game addiction and gender where the associations were large. Although the results from the correlation analysis and regression analysis showed predictive validity of the scale, the results from the Mokken analysis suggest that the IGD scale may not be applied as a unidimensional scale when the tolerance item is included.
KEYWORDS: Internet Gaming Disorder; Mokken scale analysis; mental health; pathological video gaming; psychometric properties