The Typology of Internet Gaming Disorder and its Clinical Implications (2016)

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2016 Sep 20. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12457

Lee SY1, Lee HK2, Choo H3.


Various perspectives exist regarding Internet gaming disorder. While the concept of behavioral addiction is gaining recognition, some view the phenomenon as merely excessive indulgence in online pastimes. Still, in recent years, complains from patients or their family members about problems related to Internet use, particularly Internet gaming, have become more common. However, the clinical picture of Internet gaming disorder could be obscured by its heterogeneous manifestations with other intertwined factors, such as psychiatric comorbidities, neurodevelopmental factors, socio-cultural factors and game-related factors, that may influence the pathogenesis as well as the clinical course. To mitigate such problems, clinicians should be able to consider diverse aspects related to Internet gaming disorder. Classifying such a heterogeneous problem into subtypes that share a similar etiology or phenomenology may provide additional clues in the diagnostic process and allow us to designate available clinical resources for particularly vulnerable factors. In this review paper, we suggest a typology of “impulsive/aggressive,” “emotionally vulnerable,” “socially conditioned,” and “not otherwise specified” as subtypes of the heterogeneous phenomena of pathological Internet gaming. The implications of these subtypes for assessment and treatment planning will also be highlighted.

KEYWORDS: behavior addiction; internet addiction; internet gaming disorder; signs and symptoms; typology

PMID: 27649380

DOI: 10.1111/pcn.12457