A Genre-Specific Investigation of Video Game Engagement and Problem Play in the Early Life Course

J Addict Res Ther. 2013 May 21:6:8.


This study explored predictors of engagement with specific video game genres, and degree of problem play experienced by players of specific genres, during the early life course. Video game players ages 18-29 (n = 692) were recruited in and around video game retail outlets, arcades, conventions, and other video game related contexts in New York City. Participants completed a Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) of contemporaneous demographic and personality measures and a Life-History Calendar (LHC) measuring video gaming, school/work engagement, and caffeine and sugar consumption for each year of life ages 6 - present. Findings were that likelihood of engagement with most genres rose during childhood, peaked at some point during the second decade of life, and declined through emerging adulthood. Cohorts effects on engagement also emerged which were probably attributable to changes in the availability and popularity of various genres over the 12-year age range of our participants. The relationship between age and problem play of most genres was either negative or non-significant. Sensation-seeking was the only consistent positive predictor of problem play. Relationships between other variables and engagement with and problem play of specific genres are discussed in detail.

Keywords: Adolescence; Emerging adulthood; Life history calendar; Problem video game play; Video game genre; Video games.