Link Between ADHD and Video Game Addiction

Young and single men are at risk of being addicted to video games. The addiction indicates an escape from ADHD and psychiatric disorder.

“Video game addiction is more prevalent among younger men, and among those not being in a current relationship, than others,” says, Cecilie Schou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen (UiB).

Schou Andreassen has carried out a study with more than 20 000 participants who answered questions related to video game addiction. The study is published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, of the American Psychological Association.

Escape from psychiatric disorders

The study showed that video game addiction appears to be associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.

“Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies”, Doctor Andreassen says.

According to Doctor Andreassen, the large study shows some clear tendencies as to which people develop addictive use of social media.

“The study implies that younger with some of these characteristics could be targeted regarding preventing development of an unhealthy gaming pattern.”

Sex difference in addiction

The study also showed that addiction related to video games and computer activities shows sex differences.

Image shows a video game controller.

Persons with ADHD and psychiatric disorders seemingly have a problematic relationship to video games and a pattern largely detrimental to health, work, school, and/or social relations than others. Image is for illustrative purposes only.

“Men seem generally more likely to become addicted to online gaming, gambling, and cyber-pornography, while women to social media, texting, and online shopping”, Schou Andreassen says.

Seven Warning Signs

The study uses seven criteria to identify video game addiction (developed by Lemmens et al., 2009), where gaming experiences last six months are scored on a scale from “never” to “very often”:

  • You think about playing a game all day long
  • You spend increasing amounts of time on games
  • You play games to forget about real life
  • Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use
  • You feel bad when you are unable to play
  • You have fights with others (e.g., family, friends) over your time spent on games
  • You neglect other important activities (e.g., school, work, sports) to play games

Scoring high on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are addicted to video gaming associated with impaired health, work, school and/or social relations.

“However, most people have a relaxed relationship to video games and fairly good control,” Doctor Cecilie Schou Andreassen highlights.

About this psychology research

Source: Kim E. Andreassen – University of Bergen
Image Credit: The image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “The relationship between addictive use of social media and video games and symptoms of psychiatric disorders: A large-scale cross-sectional study” by Andreassen, Cecilie Schou; Billieux, Joël; Griffiths, Mark D.; Kuss, Daria J.; Demetrovics, Zsolt; Mazzoni, Elvis; and Pallesen, Ståle in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Published online March 2016 doi:Not Available


Abstract

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.

“The relationship between addictive use of social media and video games and symptoms of psychiatric disorders: A large-scale cross-sectional study” by Andreassen, Cecilie Schou; Billieux, Joël; Griffiths, Mark D.; Kuss, Daria J.; Demetrovics, Zsolt; Mazzoni, Elvis; and Pallesen, Ståle in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Published online March 2016 doi:Not Available

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