Aims: To provide empirical data-driven identification of a group of addicted online gamers.
Design: Repeated cross-sectional survey study, comprising a longitudinal cohort, conducted in 2008 and 2009.
Setting: Secondary schools in the Netherlands.
Participants: Two large samples of Dutch schoolchildren (aged 13-16 years).
Measurements: Compulsive internet use scale, weekly hours of online gaming and psychosocial variables.
Findings: This study confirms the existence of a small group of addicted online gamers (3%), representing about 1.5% of all children aged 13-16 years in the Netherlands. Although these gamers report addiction-like problems, relationships with decreased psychosocial health were less evident.
Conclusions: The identification of a small group of addicted online gamers supports efforts to develop and validate questionnaire scales aimed at measuring the phenomenon of online video game addiction. The findings contribute to the discussion on the inclusion of non-substance addictions in the proposed unified concept of 'Addiction and Related Disorders' for the DSM-V by providing indirect identification and validation of a group of suspected online video game addicts.
© 2010 The Authors, Addiction © 2010 Society for the Study of Addiction.