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      The impact of heavy and disordered use of games and social media on adolescents’ psychological, social, and school functioning


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          To extend the scholarly debate on (a) whether or not the compulsive use of games and social media should be regarded as behavioral addictions (Kardefelt-Winther et al., 2017) and (b) whether the nine DSM-5 criteria for Internet gaming disorder (IGD; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) are appropriate to distinguish highly engaged, non-disordered users of games and social media from disordered users, this study investigated the impact of engaged and disordered use of games and social media on the psychosocial well-being and school performances of adolescents.


          As part of the Digital Youth Project of the University of Utrecht, a three-wave longitudinal sample of 12- to 15-year-old adolescents ( N = 538) was utilized. Three annual online measurements were administered in the classroom setting, including IGD, social media disorder, life satisfaction, and perceived social competence. Schools provided information on students’ grade point average.


          The symptoms of disordered use of games and social media showed to have a negative effect on adolescent’s life satisfaction, and the symptoms of disordered gaming showed a negative impact on adolescents’ perceived social competence. On the other hand, heavy use of games and social media predicted positive effects on adolescents’ perceived social competence. However, the heavy use of social media also predicted a decrease in school performances. Several gender differences in these outcomes are discussed.


          The findings propose that symptoms of disordered use of games and social media predict a decrease in the psychosocial well-being and school performances of adolescents, thereby meeting one of the core criteria of behavioral addictions.

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          Most cited references46

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          An international consensus for assessing internet gaming disorder using the new DSM-5 approach.

          For the first time, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) introduces non-substance addictions as psychiatric diagnoses. The aims of this paper are to (i) present the main controversies surrounding the decision to include internet gaming disorder, but not internet addiction more globally, as a non-substance addiction in the research appendix of the DSM-5, and (ii) discuss the meaning behind the DSM-5 criteria for internet gaming disorder. The paper also proposes a common method for assessing internet gaming disorder. Although the need for common diagnostic criteria is not debated, the existence of multiple instruments reflect the divergence of opinions in the field regarding how best to diagnose this condition. We convened international experts from European, North and South American, Asian and Australasian countries to discuss and achieve consensus about assessing internet gaming disorder as defined within DSM-5. We describe the intended meaning behind each of the nine DSM-5 criteria for internet gaming disorder and present a single item that best reflects each criterion, translated into the 10 main languages of countries in which research on this condition has been conducted. Using results from this cross-cultural collaboration, we outline important research directions for understanding and assessing internet gaming disorder. As this field moves forward, it is critical that researchers and clinicians around the world begin to apply a common methodology; this report is the first to achieve an international consensus related to the assessment of internet gaming disorder. © 2014 Society for the Study of Addiction.
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            Pathological video-game use among youth ages 8 to 18: a national study.

            Researchers have studied whether some youth are "addicted" to video games, but previous studies have been based on regional convenience samples. Using a national sample, this study gathered information about video-gaming habits and parental involvement in gaming, to determine the percentage of youth who meet clinical-style criteria for pathological gaming. A Harris poll surveyed a randomly selected sample of 1,178 American youth ages 8 to 18. About 8% of video-game players in this sample exhibited pathological patterns of play. Several indicators documented convergent and divergent validity of the results: Pathological gamers spent twice as much time playing as nonpathological gamers and received poorer grades in school; pathological gaming also showed comorbidity with attention problems. 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.
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              How can we conceptualize behavioural addiction without pathologizing common behaviours?

              Following the recent changes to the diagnostic category for addictive disorders in DSM-5, it is urgent to clarify what constitutes behavioural addiction to have a clear direction for future research and classification. However, in the years following the release of DSM-5, an expanding body of research has increasingly classified engagement in a wide range of common behaviours and leisure activities as possible behavioural addiction. If this expansion does not end, both the relevance and the credibility of the field of addictive disorders might be questioned, which may prompt a dismissive appraisal of the new DSM-5 subcategory for behavioural addiction. We propose an operational definition of behavioural addiction together with a number of exclusion criteria, to avoid pathologizing common behaviours and provide a common ground for further research. The definition and its exclusion criteria are clarified and justified by illustrating how these address a number of theoretical and methodological shortcomings that result from existing conceptualizations. We invite other researchers to extend our definition under an Open Science Foundation framework.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                10 September 2018
                September 2018
                : 7
                : 3
                : 697-706
                [ 1 ]Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Utrecht University , Utrecht, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Regina van den Eijnden; Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Utrecht University, PO Box 80140, Utrecht 3508 TC, The Netherlands; Phone: +31 30 253 7980; E-mail: R.J.J.M.vandenEijnden@ 123456uu.nl
                © 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.

                : 11 January 2018
                : 01 July 2018
                : 29 July 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 56, Pages: 10
                Funding sources: No financial support was received for this project.
                FULL-LENGTH REPORT

                Evolutionary Biology,Medicine,Psychology,Educational research & Statistics,Social & Behavioral Sciences
                psychosocial well-being,game addiction,social media addiction,school functioning,adolescents,consequences


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