Family factors in adolescent problematic Internet gaming: A systematic review (2017)

J Behav Addict. 2017 Aug 1:1-13. doi: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.035.

Schneider LA1, King DL1, Delfabbro PH1.


Background and aims

Familial influences are known to affect the likelihood of an adolescent becoming a problem gamer. This systematic review examined some of the key findings in empirical research on family factors related to adolescent problem gaming. Methods A total of 14 studies in the past decade were evaluated. Family-related variables included: (a) parent status (e.g., socioeconomic status and mental health), (b) parent-child relationship (e.g., warmth, conflict, and abuse), (c) parental influence on gaming (e.g., supervision of gaming, modeling, and attitudes toward gaming), and (d) family environment (e.g., household composition).


The majority of studies have focused on parent-child relationships, reporting that poorer quality relationships are associated with increased severity of problem gaming. The paternal relationship may be protective against problem gaming; therefore, prevention programs should leverage the support of cooperative fathers.


The intergenerational effects of problem gaming require further attention, in light of adult gamers raising their children in a gaming-centric environment. Research has been limited by a reliance on adolescent self-report to understand family dynamics, without gathering corroborating information from parents and other family members. The very high rates of problem gaming (>10%) reported in general population samples raise concerns about the validity of current screening tools.


Interventions for adolescents may be more effective in some cases if they can address familial influences on problem gaming with the active co-participation of parents, rather than enrolling vulnerable adolescents in individual-based training or temporarily isolating adolescents from the family system.


DSM-5; Internet gaming disorder; addiction; adolescence; family; risk

PMID: 28762279

DOI: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.035