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      A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution

      , 1 , * , , 2 , * , , 3 , * , , 4 , * , , 5 , 6 , * , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 5 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 7 , 28 , 10 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 6 , 35 , , 28 , 36 , *

      Journal of Behavioral Addictions

      Akadémiai Kiadó

      gaming disorder, International Classification of Diseases-11, World Health Organization, diagnosis, classification, mental disorders, moral panic

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          We greatly appreciate the care and thought that is evident in the 10 commentaries that discuss our debate paper, the majority of which argued in favor of a formalized ICD-11 gaming disorder. We agree that there are some people whose play of video games is related to life problems. We believe that understanding this population and the nature and severity of the problems they experience should be a focus area for future research. However, moving from research construct to formal disorder requires a much stronger evidence base than we currently have. The burden of evidence and the clinical utility should be extremely high, because there is a genuine risk of abuse of diagnoses. We provide suggestions about the level of evidence that might be required: transparent and preregistered studies, a better demarcation of the subject area that includes a rationale for focusing on gaming particularly versus a more general behavioral addictions concept, the exploration of non-addiction approaches, and the unbiased exploration of clinical approaches that treat potentially underlying issues, such as depressive mood or social anxiety first. We acknowledge there could be benefits to formalizing gaming disorder, many of which were highlighted by colleagues in their commentaries, but we think they do not yet outweigh the wider societal and public health risks involved. Given the gravity of diagnostic classification and its wider societal impact, we urge our colleagues at the WHO to err on the side of caution for now and postpone the formalization.

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          Most cited references 58

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          An Agenda for Purely Confirmatory Research.

          The veracity of substantive research claims hinges on the way experimental data are collected and analyzed. In this article, we discuss an uncomfortable fact that threatens the core of psychology's academic enterprise: almost without exception, psychologists do not commit themselves to a method of data analysis before they see the actual data. It then becomes tempting to fine tune the analysis to the data in order to obtain a desired result-a procedure that invalidates the interpretation of the common statistical tests. The extent of the fine tuning varies widely across experiments and experimenters but is almost impossible for reviewers and readers to gauge. To remedy the situation, we propose that researchers preregister their studies and indicate in advance the analyses they intend to conduct. Only these analyses deserve the label "confirmatory," and only for these analyses are the common statistical tests valid. Other analyses can be carried out but these should be labeled "exploratory." We illustrate our proposal with a confirmatory replication attempt of a study on extrasensory perception.
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            Internet gaming disorder and the DSM-5.

             N Petry,  C. O’Brien (2013)
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              Are we overpathologizing everyday life? A tenable blueprint for behavioral addiction research

              Background Behavioral addiction research has been particularly flourishing over the last two decades. However, recent publications have suggested that nearly all daily life activities might lead to a genuine addiction. Methods and aim In this article, we discuss how the use of atheoretical and confirmatory research approaches may result in the identification of an unlimited list of “new” behavioral addictions. Results Both methodological and theoretical shortcomings of these studies were discussed. Conclusions We suggested that studies overpathologizing daily life activities are likely to prompt a dismissive appraisal of behavioral addiction research. Consequently, we proposed several roadmaps for future research in the field, centrally highlighting the need for longer tenable behavioral addiction research that shifts from a mere criteria-based approach toward an approach focusing on the psychological processes involved.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                12 March 2018
                March 2018
                : 7
                : 1
                : 1-9
                [ 1 ] Department of Children & Risky Behavior, Trimbos Institute , Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [ 2 ]Department of Psychology, Stetson University , DeLand, FL, USA
                [ 3 ]Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore, MD, USA
                [ 4 ]Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm, Sweden
                [ 5 ] Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto , Toronto, Canada
                [ 6 ] Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health , Toronto, Canada
                [ 7 ] Center for Computer Games Research, IT University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen, Denmark
                [ 8 ]Department of Psychology, Framingham State University , Framingham, MA, USA
                [ 9 ]Department of Sociology, Stockholm University , Stockholm, Sweden
                [ 10 ]Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University , Roskilde, Denmark
                [ 11 ]Department of Psychology, Middlesex University , London, UK
                [ 12 ]Department of Psychology, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) , Louvain, Belgium
                [ 13 ] School of medicine, Western Sydney University , Penrith, NSW, Australia
                [ 14 ]Department of Applied Educational Science, Umeå University , Umeå, Sweden
                [ 15 ]Department of Criminology, Stockholm University , Stockholm, Sweden
                [ 16 ]Psychology of Human Technology Interaction Group, Ruhr University Bochum , Bochum, Germany
                [ 17 ]Department of Psychology, Bath Spa University , Bath, UK
                [ 18 ]Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University , Aarhus, Denmark
                [ 19 ]Developmental Psychopathology, Radboud University Nijmegen , Nijmegen, The Netherlands
                [ 20 ]Department of Media and Communication, ERMeCC, Erasmus University Rotterdam , Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [ 21 ]Westerdals Department of Film and Media, Kristiania University College , Oslo, Norway
                [ 22 ]Department of Psychology, Edge Hill University , Ormskirk, UK
                [ 23 ]Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto , Toronto, Canada
                [ 24 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto , Toronto, Canada
                [ 25 ]Department of Educational Psychology, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University , Aarhus, Denmark
                [ 26 ]Department of Psychology, Villanova University , Villanova, PA, USA
                [ 27 ]Department of Psychology, University of Oregon , Eugene, OR, USA
                [ 28 ]Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford , Oxford, UK
                [ 29 ] Liberos LLC , Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [ 30 ]Department of Game Design, Uppsala University , Visby, Sweden
                [ 31 ]Department of Communication, University of Münster , Münster, Germany
                [ 32 ]Department of Human and Social Sciences, UKE – Kore University of Enna , Enna, Italy
                [ 33 ]Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Sydney , Sydney, Australia
                [ 34 ] Clinical Psychologist/Neuropsychologist , New York, NY, USA
                [ 35 ]Department of Communication Sciences, imec-mict-Ghent University , Ghent, Belgium
                [ 36 ] Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford , Oxford, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding authors: Antonius J. van Rooij, PhD; Department of Children & Risky Behavior, Trimbos Institute, Da Costakade 45, 3521 VS, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Phone: +31 30 29 59 343; Fax: +31 30 297 11 11; E-mail: trooij@ ; Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD; Department of Psychology, Stetson University, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, FL, USA; Phone: +1 386 822 7288; E-mail: cjfergus@ ; Michelle Colder Carras, PhD; Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; Phone: +1 410 955 3910; E-mail: mcarras@ ; Daniel Kardefelt-Winther, PhD; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Tomtebodavägen 18A, Stockholm 17176, Sweden; Phone: +44 79 46567850; E-mail: daniel.kardefelt.winther@ ; Jing Shi, MSc (OT), OT Reg. (Ont.); Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, 937-500 University Ave., Toronto, ON, Canada; Phone: +1 416 946 8579; E-mail: j.shi@ ; Andrew K. Przybylski, PhD; Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles Oxford, Oxford OX1 3JS, UK; Phone: +44 1865 287230; Fax: +44 1865 270708; E-mail: andy.przybylski@
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 75, Pages: 9
                Funding sources: MCC’s contribution to this research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health Training grant 5T32MH014592-39.


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