Researchers Release New Test For Video Gaming Addiction

Gaming Disorder Test

Academic researchers from universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Australia have released a new psychological test that allows gamers to determine whether they suffer from “gaming disorder,” an addiction first recognized as a form of mental illness by the World Health Organization last year.

WHO does not classify playing video games as a disorder, even in large amounts. Rather, like other types of addiction, the organization classifies gaming disorder as the playing of games to the detriment of the rest of a person’s life, typically in a span extending for longer than a year.

The researchers have placed the Gaming Disorder Test online for the public at http://www.do-i-play-too-much-videogames.com/.

It takes about five to 10 minutes to complete, and provides results comparing your answers to others who took the test on a sliding scale. Because there is no cutoff score to tell you that you have the disorder, you are given the opportunity to see how you compare versus other gamers, giving you an idea of whether your playstyle is normal. A chart also provides your motivations for gaming, as seen above.

Gaming disorder, WHO says, is “a pattern of gaming behavior (‘digital-gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

In a new paper published by the International Journal of Health and Addiction, seven researchers from six universities trialed the new test with more than 550 gamers in the U.K. and China. Of those, 36 participants (6.4 percent) met WHO’s diagnostic criteria for gaming disorder. It’s the largest study to date on the condition.

Gaming Disorder Test

Summary results from the Gaming Disorder Test study.

HEATHER NEWMAN

“It is … worth noting that the main purpose of this instrument is not to diagnose GD, but to assess its severity and accompanying detrimental effects to the gamer’s life,” the paper notes.

Psychologist Halley Pontes at the University of Tasmania was the lead author, and the recipient of the 2016 2016 Durand Jacobs Award from McGill University in Canada for his contributions to the psychology of addictive behaviors.

“We want to understand the point at which gaming becomes a health problem, and which factors contribute to the development of gaming disorders, exploring sociodemographic variables, personality and motivations. We hope there will be thousands of participants in the next phase of the study,” said co-author Bruno Schivinski, lecturer in Marketing at Birkbeck, University of London.

Esports company ESLGaming helped to recruit participants. CMO Rodrigo Samwell said, “ESL wants to support responsible gaming. We believe in a world where everybody can be somebody and being somebody means you can be dedicated to the game but also to your family and achieve a positive gaming-life balance.”

Other findings of the study included the fact that the gamers spent an average 12 hours a week playing, about half of that over the weekends, and that there were no substantial differences between the habits and attitudes of the U.K. and Chinese groups.

“Excessive video gaming is already a serious health risk in Asian countries and an emerging problem in Europe. In order to conduct large international studies, we designed the new instrument in a cross-cultural way,” said study co-author Professor Christian Montag, head of the Department of Molecular Psychology at Ulm University in Germany.

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