Pathological video game use among 8 to 18 year olds (Gentile, 2009)


One of the reasons of my procrastination, it's not the guitar playing

I realized I haven’t posted anything in almost a month. I have no excuses beside the usual procrastination and multi-tasking. Oh, I got 84 participants when I officially finished testing. Many people says it’s great, but it’s not when you realize you’re going to dump 10 or so participants from your analyses because of the way they did during testing…

Anyways, gamepolitics posted up an upcoming article by Dr. Douglas A. Gentile about pathological use among 8 to 18 year olds. I was trying to find an excuse not to read and write and I have found it. The data was from a 2007 Harris poll and this covered back then before I started this blog. So, here’s a link from a 2007 Harris article (PDF file) and here’s the gamepolitics article back then.


Researchers have studied whether some youth are “addicted” to video games, but previous studies are based on regional convenience samples. This study gathered information from a national sample about video gaming habits, parent involvement in gaming, and the percentage that meet DSM-style criteria for pathological gaming. A Harris poll surveyed a randomly selected sample of 1,178 American youth aged 8 to 18. About eight percent of video game players exhibited pathological patterns of play. Several indicators documented convergent and divergent validity, including pathological gamers (compared to non-pathological gamers) spending twice as much time playing, showing comorbidity with attention problems, and receiving poorer grades in school. Pathological status significantly predicted poorer school performance even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video game play. These results confirm that pathological gaming can be measured reliably, that the construct demonstrates validity, and that it is not simply isomorphic with a high amount of play.

I might have a few general comments which I thought during my bus trip home. Here’s the university press release and the journal article.

  1. It’s an internet survey: it’s convenient, cheap and reaches to every corner of the world. Several problems arises: this excludes those not connected on the internet, it’s anonymous (this relates to the online disinhibition effect, although its impact is not investigated), participants can’t ask questions to researchers if they’re stumped on a question (I had this one participant who talks too much and can’t freaking generalize the questions he’s asked). All in all, the inherent problems of psychological research using the internet.
  2. The measure used to assess pathological video game use is based on existing criteria from pathological gambling from the DSM-IV. The way they measured pathological video game is an 11-item scale, answers with a yes, no or sometimes. IMHO, this is way too simplistic for a diagnostic tool. So any participants that is classified as a pathological video game user is NOT certifiably named so. I’d say that the 8.5% of participants who were found to be pathological would be called “at risk” and would need to be assessed further into their social (friends), home (parents and sibling) and school (teachers) environment by a professional, of course. Although, you’d had to ask a clinical psychologist if this simple survey thing is how it’s done with other mental disorders because I’m not one.
  3. Gentile noted that there’s debate about the definition of addiction or pathological use and the blurry line between pathological video game use or simple normal use (see Charlton and Danforth, 2007).
  4. Gentile noted that this study is to present some data and explore approaches in studying pathological video game use. So this is an investigation.

Gentile, D. A. (2009) Pathological video game use among youth 8 to 18: A national study. Psychological Science, 20(5), 594-602.

11 thoughts on “Pathological video game use among 8 to 18 year olds (Gentile, 2009)

  1. Pingback: Video Game Addiction: Fact or Fiction? « Educational Games Research

  2. Pingback: Video Game Addiction: Fact or Fiction? «!

  3. Pingback: Facepalm: TEEN GAMING ADDICTIONS ON THE RISE IN U.S. (The pinnacle schools inc., 2009) « VG Researcher – Psychology

  4. Bin schon seit langem leiser leser deines blogs und finde deine Beitrge sehr gut.In den letzten Wochen ist mir allerdings aufgefallen, dass dein layout im Firefox Internet Browser total zerrissen ist… Ich kann deinen blog nur mit dem Internet Explorer lesen. Wre klasse wenn du das problem beheben knntest

  5. Pingback: Two year longitudinal study of videogame addiction among Singaporean youths (Gentile et al., 2011) « VG Researcher

  6. After looking over a handful of the blog articles on your website, I seriously like your technique of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and tell me what you think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s