Clarifying terminologies in research on gaming disorder and other addictive behaviors: distinctions between core symptoms and underlying psychological processes

Curr Opin Psychol. 2020 Dec;36:49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2020.04.006. Epub 2020 May 4.


There exists ongoing debate regarding the clinical validity of single symptoms of and diagnostic criteria for gaming disorder. In particular, the potential symptom of gaming disorder that addresses coping with and escaping from negative feelings has received much attention and remains a focus of intensive discussion. We argue that it is important to consider differences or distinguish between, on the one hand, symptoms of and criteria for a disorder due to addictive behaviors, such as gaming disorder, versus, on the other hand, motivations, mechanisms, and psychological processes that may be involved in promoting addictive behaviors and that may explain symptom severity and course of the addictive disorder including potential treatment responses.

Publication types

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