Problematic computer game use among adolescents, younger and older adults
Version of Record online: 19 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 108, Issue 3, pages 592–599, March 2013
How to Cite
Festl, R., Scharkow, M. and Quandt, T. (2013), Problematic computer game use among adolescents, younger and older adults. Addiction, 108: 592–599. doi: 10.1111/add.12016
- Issue online: 18 FEB 2013
- Version of Record online: 19 NOV 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 18 OCT 2012 06:46AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 9 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Received: 2 MAR 2012
- European Union's Seventh Framework Programme. Grant Number: 240864
- gaming addiction;
- prevalence study;
- problematic computer game use
Playing digital games has been associated with forms of addictive behavior. Past research on the subject has often been criticized on theoretical and empirical grounds, due mainly to measurement or sampling issues. The present study aims to overcome these two limitations, and presents data from a representative study in Germany using an already established instrument for measuring problematic game use.
Large-scale, representative study using a computer-assisted telephone survey.
A total of 580 adolescents between 14 and 18 years of age, 1866 younger adults between 19–39 years and 1936 older adults aged 40 years and older (overall n = 4382).
Problematic game use was measured with the Gaming Addiction Short Scale (GAS), which covers seven criteria including salience, withdrawal and conflicts. Additionally, differential aspects of personality, as well as gaming behaviour, were measured.
Only seven respondents [0.2%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.1, 0.3] met all criteria of the GAS Scale. In contrast, 3.7% (95% CI: 3.1, 4.3) of the respondents can be considered problematic users, meeting at least half these conditions. The percentage of problematic gamers among adolescents is above average (7.6%, 95% CI: 5.6, 10.1). High GAS scores are associated with aggression, low sociability and self-efficacy and lower satisfaction with life. Additionally, these scores correspond with intensive use and preferences for certain gaming genres across all age groups.
Following Gaming Addiction Short Scale criteria, gaming addiction is currently not a widespread phenomenon among adolescents and adults in Germany. Gaming Addiction Short Scale scores are associated with intensive use, as well as certain problematic aspects of individuals' personalities and social lives.