Maladaptive player-game relationships in problematic gaming and gaming disorder: A systematic review (2019)

Clin Psychol Rev. 2019 Nov;73:101777. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101777. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

King DL1, Delfabbro PH2, Perales JC3, Deleuze J4, Király O5, Krossbakken E6, Billieux J7.


While certain player vulnerabilities are known to increase risk of gaming disorder (GD), the topic of maladaptive player × game relationships in GD has received limited attention. This review aimed to: (1) identify game types associated with GD symptomatology; and (2) evaluate individual differences (e.g., age, personality, depression) in the relationship between gaming and GD symptomatology. A systematic review of six databases identified 23 studies of the relations between game types and GD, including 13 studies employing multivariate analyses. Player vulnerabilities implicated in GD included impulsivity, risk-taking, psychopathological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety), and stronger gaming motivations (e.g., escapism, achievement). MMORPG involvement had the strongest positive association with GD. Problematic MMORPG players tend to have a socially anxious profile and may be attracted to the work-like roles and conventions of this genre. Problematic players of shooters tend to score higher on measures of sensation-seeking and impulsivity than other players. These findings suggest that GD may develop more readily and at more severe levels in complex, endless, socially driven games, irrespective of person-level characteristics. Some player vulnerabilities may selectively increase risk of GD for certain game types. Further research should investigate different player-game interactions to refine current models and interventions for GD.

KEYWORDS: Addiction; Gaming disorder; Problematic gaming; Structural characteristics; Video game

PMID: 31707185

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101777