Maladaptive player-game relationships in problematic gaming and gaming disorder: A systematic review

Clin Psychol Rev. 2019 Nov:73:101777. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101777. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Abstract

While certain player vulnerabilities are known to increase risk of gaming disorder (GD), the topic of maladaptive player × game relationships in GD has received limited attention. This review aimed to: (1) identify game types associated with GD symptomatology; and (2) evaluate individual differences (e.g., age, personality, depression) in the relationship between gaming and GD symptomatology. A systematic review of six databases identified 23 studies of the relations between game types and GD, including 13 studies employing multivariate analyses. Player vulnerabilities implicated in GD included impulsivity, risk-taking, psychopathological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety), and stronger gaming motivations (e.g., escapism, achievement). MMORPG involvement had the strongest positive association with GD. Problematic MMORPG players tend to have a socially anxious profile and may be attracted to the work-like roles and conventions of this genre. Problematic players of shooters tend to score higher on measures of sensation-seeking and impulsivity than other players. These findings suggest that GD may develop more readily and at more severe levels in complex, endless, socially driven games, irrespective of person-level characteristics. Some player vulnerabilities may selectively increase risk of GD for certain game types. Further research should investigate different player-game interactions to refine current models and interventions for GD.

Keywords: Addiction; Gaming disorder; Problematic gaming; Structural characteristics; Video game.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology
  • Behavior, Addictive / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Video Games* / statistics & numerical data