Background: Online gaming has become increasingly popular. However, this has led to concerns that these games might induce serious problems and/or lead to dependence for a minority of players.
Aim: The aim of this study was to uncover and operationalize the components of problematic online gaming.
Methods: A total of 3415 gamers (90% males; mean age 21 years), were recruited through online gaming websites. A combined method of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was applied. Latent profile analysis was applied to identify persons at-risk.
Results: EFA revealed a six-factor structure in the background of problematic online gaming that was also confirmed by a CFA. For the assessment of the identified six dimensions--preoccupation, overuse, immersion, social isolation, interpersonal conflicts, and withdrawal--the 18-item Problematic Online Gaming Questionnaire (POGQ) proved to be exceedingly suitable. Based on the latent profile analysis, 3.4% of the gamer population was considered to be at high risk, while another 15.2% was moderately problematic.
Conclusions: The POGQ seems to be an adequate measurement tool for the differentiated assessment of gaming related problems on six subscales.