Problematic Internet Use and Problematic Online Gaming Are Not the Same: Findings from a Large Nationally Representative Adolescent Sample (2014)

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Nov 21.

Király O1, Griffiths MD, Urbán R, Farkas J, Kökönyei G, Elekes Z, Tamás D, Demetrovics Z.


Abstract There is an ongoing debate in the literature whether problematic Internet use (PIU) and problematic online gaming (POG) are two distinct conceptual and nosological entities or whether they are the same. The present study contributes to this question by examining the interrelationship and the overlap between PIU and POG in terms of sex, school achievement, time spent using the Internet and/or online gaming, psychological well-being, and preferred online activities.

Questionnaires assessing these variables were administered to a nationally representative sample of adolescent gamers (N=2,073; Mage=16.4 years, SD=0.87; 68.4% male). Data showed that Internet use was a common activity among adolescents, while online gaming was engaged in by a considerably smaller group.

Similarly, more adolescents met the criteria for PIU than for POG, and a small group of adolescents showed symptoms of both problem behaviors.

The most notable difference between the two problem behaviors was in terms of sex. POG was much more strongly associated with being male. Self-esteem had low effect sizes on both behaviors, while depressive symptoms were associated with both PIU and POG, affecting PIU slightly more.

In terms of preferred online activities, PIU was positively associated with online gaming, online chatting, and social networking, while POG was only associated with online gaming. Based on our findings, POG appears to be a conceptually different behavior from PIU, and therefore the data support the notion that Internet Addiction Disorder and Internet Gaming Disorder are separate nosological entities.

  • PMID:
  • 25415659
  • [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]