Video game addiction in emerging adulthood: Cross-sectional evidence of pathology in video game addicts as compared to matched healthy controls

J Affect Disord. 2018 Jan 1;225:265-272. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.08.045. Epub 2017 Aug 18.


Background: The Internet Gaming Disorder Scale (IGDS) is a widely used measure of video game addiction, a pathology affecting a small percentage of all people who play video games. Emerging adult males are significantly more likely to be video game addicts. Few researchers have examined how people who qualify as video game addicts based on the IGDS compared to matched controls based on age, gender, race, and marital status.

Method: The current study compared IGDS video game addicts to matched non-addicts in terms of their mental, physical, social-emotional health using self-report, survey methods.

Results: Addicts had poorer mental health and cognitive functioning including poorer impulse control and ADHD symptoms compared to controls. Additionally, addicts displayed increased emotional difficulties including increased depression and anxiety, felt more socially isolated, and were more likely to display internet pornography pathological use symptoms. Female video game addicts were at unique risk for negative outcomes.

Limitations: The sample for this study was undergraduate college students and self-report measures were used.

Conclusions: Participants who met the IGDS criteria for video game addiction displayed poorer emotional, physical, mental, and social health, adding to the growing evidence that video game addictions are a valid phenomenon.

Keywords: Emerging adults; Internet gaming addiction; Pathological gaming; Video game addiction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Self Report
  • Students / psychology
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Young Adult