Problem video game playing is related to emotional distress in adolescents (2016)

Adicciones. 2016 Sep 29:745. doi: 10.20882/adicciones.745.

[Article in English, Spanish]

Gonzálvez MT1, Espada JP, Tejeiro R.


Problem use of video games is an increasing risk behaviour. High exposure of adolescents to video games has been linked to a variety of disorders, but the relationship between problem video game playing and emotional welfare is unknown. The aim of the study is to analyse problem video game playing in a sample of adolescents and to determine whether there are differences between online and offline players, in addition to examining its relationship with anxiety and depressive symptomatology. A sample of adolescents (N = 380) completed self-reports measuring video game use and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

We found that 7.4% of females and 30% of males can be considered as playing at problem levels. Online players were almost 12 times more likely to play at high frequency than offline players (χ2 (1, 267) = 72.72, p < .001, OR = 11.63, 95% CI [6.31, 21.43]). Males play more frequently, and play more online (χ2 (1, 267) = 50.85, p < .001, OR = 6.74, 95% CI [3.90, 11.64]), with a clear relationship between problem video game playing and anxiety (r = .24; p < .001). In females, there is a relationship between problem video game playing and depression (r = .19; p < .05). Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the psychological variables involved in problem video game playing. The implementation of strategies is suggested in order to prevent pathological gaming and associated problems.

PMID: 27749970

DOI: 10.20882/adicciones.745