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      Normative, passionate, or problematic? Identification of adolescent gamer subtypes over time

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          Background and aims

          For most youngsters, gaming is a fun and innocent leisure activity. However, some adolescents are prone to develop problematic gaming behavior. It is therefore important to have a comprehensive understanding of psychosocial and game-related characteristics that differentiate highly engaged gamers from problematic gamers. To that end, this study evaluated the stability and consistency of Internet gaming criteria (as suggested by the DSM-5) and psychosocial characteristics in a two-wave longitudinal study including 1928 young adolescents (mean age = 13.3 years, SD = 0.91, 57% boys).


          A confirmatory factor analysis revealed good stability of the Internet gaming disorder (IGD) construct over time. Latent class analyses revealed three classes for boys (recreational, engaged, and problematic) and two classes for girls (recreational and engaged).


          Significant differences between classes emerged for problem criteria (conflict and problems in social life), gaming duration, impulsivity, social competence, and attention/hyperactivity. The absence of a problematic gaming class for girls suggests that girls are less likely to develop problematic gaming behavior.


          The IGD criteria as proposed by the DSM-5 are a helpful tool to identify problematic gamers, although the results of this study suggest that using a strict cut-off point might result in false positives, particularly for boys. Problem criteria appeared to be the most sensitive and specific in identifying the problematic gamer, whereas escapism criteria were the least specific and sensitive. Careful consideration of the current proposed criteria to identify problematic gaming behavior could benefit the research and clinical field.

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          Most cited references 30

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          The relationship between addictive use of social media and video games and symptoms of psychiatric disorders: A large-scale cross-sectional study.

          Over the last decade, research into "addictive technological behaviors" has substantially increased. Research has also demonstrated strong associations between addictive use of technology and comorbid psychiatric disorders. In the present study, 23,533 adults (mean age 35.8 years, ranging from 16 to 88 years) participated in an online cross-sectional survey examining whether demographic variables, symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression could explain variance in addictive use (i.e., compulsive and excessive use associated with negative outcomes) of two types of modern online technologies: social media and video games. Correlations between symptoms of addictive technology use and mental disorder symptoms were all positive and significant, including the weak interrelationship between the two addictive technological behaviors. Age appeared to be inversely related to the addictive use of these technologies. Being male was significantly associated with addictive use of video games, whereas being female was significantly associated with addictive use of social media. Being single was positively related to both addictive social networking and video gaming. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that demographic factors explained between 11 and 12% of the variance in addictive technology use. The mental health variables explained between 7 and 15% of the variance. The study significantly adds to our understanding of mental health symptoms and their role in addictive use of modern technology, and suggests that the concept of Internet use disorder (i.e., "Internet addiction") as a unified construct is not warranted.
            • Record: found
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            Automatic and controlled processes and the development of addictive behaviors in adolescents: a review and a model.

            This paper presents a review and a model of the development of addictive behaviors in (human) adolescents, with a focus on alcohol. The model proposes that addictive behaviors develop as the result of an imbalance between two systems: an appetitive, approach-oriented system that becomes sensitized with repeated alcohol use and a regulatory executive system that is not fully developed and that is compromised by exposure to alcohol. Self-regulation critically depends on two factors: ability and motivation to regulate the appetitive response tendency. The motivational aspect is often still weak in heavy drinking adolescents, who typically do not recognize their drinking as problematic. Motivation to regulate use often develops only years later, after the individual has encountered serious alcohol-related problems. Unfortunately, at that point behavioral change becomes harder due to several neurocognitive adaptations that result from heavy drinking. As we document, there is preliminary support for the central elements of the model (appetitive motivation vs. self-regulation), but there is a paucity of research directly addressing these mechanisms in human adolescents. Further, we emphasize that adolescent alcohol use primarily takes place in a social context, and that therefore studies should not solely focus on intra-individual factors predicting substance use and misuse but also on interpersonal social factors. Finally, we discuss implications of the model for interventions.
              • Record: found
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              Developmental Neurocircuitry of Motivation in Adolescence: A Critical Period of Addiction Vulnerability


                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                23 September 2019
                September 2019
                : 8
                : 3
                : 574-585
                [1 ]Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Youth Studies, Utrecht University , Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Margot Peeters; Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Youth Studies, Utrecht University, Padualaan 14, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Phone: +31 30 253 452; E-mail: m.peeters1@
                © 2019 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: 8, Equations: 0, References: 37, Pages: 12
                Funding sources: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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