Research Topic

Internet Gaming Disorder: A Pathway Towards Assessment Consensus

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The expansion of gaming has led to excessive and potentially problematic gaming among a small, yet clinically significant, minority of individuals. Various terms and constructs have been suggested to define these behaviours such as ‘problem video game playing’, ‘video game addiction’, ‘internet gaming ...

The expansion of gaming has led to excessive and potentially problematic gaming among a small, yet clinically significant, minority of individuals. Various terms and constructs have been suggested to define these behaviours such as ‘problem video game playing’, ‘video game addiction’, ‘internet gaming addiction’, ‘pathological video game use’, ‘problem video game play’, ‘online gaming addiction’, ‘video game dependency’, ‘pathological gaming’, and ‘problematic online gaming’. The wide variety of names, definitions, and diagnostic instruments employed to describe problematic video gaming has resulted in inconsistencies among researchers considering the prevalence of the behaviour.

In that context, Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was suggested as a condition for further study in the most recent (fifth) edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The phenomenon of IGD is broadly described as a form of persistent and recurrent involvement with videogames, often leading to the decline of daily work and/or education activities. Furthermore, and based on the argument that not only “online” but also “offline” games can result to excessive gaming, “Gaming Disorder” (GD) has been identified as a disorder to be included in the next (11th) revision of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Despite the progress made, the construct and the measurement heterogeneity in the field remains important. In this context, a 2013 review of measurement instruments for pathological gaming indicated the existence of 18 distinct instruments, with only one (PVP) covering all nine IGD diagnostic criteria as suggested by the APA in the DSM-5. In fact, these measurement inconsistency issues illustrated part of the “chaos and confusion” identified in the conceptualization and measurement of problematic gaming behaviours.

Within the broader context of construct, assessment and measurement inconsistencies identified as undermining the advancement of knowledge in the field of problematic gaming, the need of a consensus considering the relevant construct and its assessment and measurement has been consistently identified. Interestingly, even when the same Internet Gaming Disorder constructs and instruments are applied, lack of measurement invariance properties across different cultural groups and groups of gamers or over time (e.g., repeated measures to monitor treatment), appears to undermine comparability of findings in the field.

To address these issues, this Research Topic aims to welcome a collection of articles from the international community which will aid in the creation of a unified measurement approach of problematic gaming behaviours. Specifically, to a) aid in applicability of gaming disorder related measurements across different cultural groups, across different groups of gamers and gamers genders and clinical status, b) psychometrically investigate the structure of relevant gaming disorder constructs, c) to enhance the construct validity in the IGD and GD field, and thus to d) aid in the unified consensus of IGD and GD diagnostic framework.


Keywords: Internet Gaming Disorder, Gaming Disorder, Measurment, Psychometrics, Psychological Assessment


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