Back to search

BEDREHELSE-Bedre helse og livskvalitet

Video game addiction - epidemiology, mechanisms and prevention

Alternative title: Dataspillavhengighet - utbredelse, mekanismer og forebygging

Awarded: NOK 4.0 mill.

Project Number:


Application Type:

Project Period:

2015 - 2019


Subject Fields:

Partner countries:

The diagnosis of computer game addiction has been incorporated into modern diagnostic systems, but more research regarding its validity is needed. Sub-project 1 is based on a survey of Norwegian youth, completed when they were 17.5, 18.5 and 19.5 years old. Questions about video game addiction, anxiety, depression, loneliness, alcohol use and aggression were asked. Video game addiction and depression / loneliness mutually affected each other over time. Physical aggression increased computer game addiction, while anxiety was a consequence of computer game addiction. The findings are published in Frontiers in Psychology. We have also investigated the new criteria for computer game addiction in DSM-5 with Mokken analyzes. The results showed that the items in the entire sample and for women reflected a one-dimensional concept, but for men one item did not converge with the others. The findings are published in Frontiers in Psychology. It has been assumed that rewards given in games can contribute to excessive gaming. We examined this in the second sub-project based on a bicycle game. In an experiment, we examined whether to get points during the course vs. getting all the points after completing a course had bearings on emotions, cravings, regret in relation to game behavior and heart rate. The findings from this study are submitted for publication. In another experiment, based on the same outcome measures, participants competed against the computer where four conditions were compared (winning or losing by a large margin, winning or losing by a small margin). In general, the results showed that participants reported more frustration and regret when losing than when they won and playing was more positively evaluated when players won compared to losses. The results are published in International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. In a third experiment, participants played against fictitious others and placement on a scoreboard (low or high) was manipulated. The findings are being prepared for publication. In the third sub-project, a parental guide was made related to the regulation of computer games for children aged 8-12. The guide was based on advices in the literature. In all 4,000 parents were randomly drawn from the National Population Registrt, 2000 got the guide while the other 2000 constituted the control group. After 6 months, everyone was given a questionnaire about how they regulated computer games and whether the child had problems with this. The two groups were compared on these goals to examine the effect of the guide. No effects of the guide was found, but parents having children with gaming problems reported to study the guide more thoroughly than their counterparts. The results are published in Journal of Behavioral Addictions. The Phd-candidate defended her thesis in May, 2019.

Det ble vist at dataspillavhengighet gjensidig påvirker depresjon/ensomhet og at angst var en konsekvens av dataspillavhengighet. Samlet indikerer dette at dataspillproblemer ikke bare er en konsekvens av andre problemer, men at lidelsen i seg selv trolig kan øke annen problematikk over tid. Eksperimentene viste at belønningssystemer i dataspill kan påvirke anger/frustrasjon og positiv evaluering av dataspill. Mange avhengigheter opprettholdes av belønningssystemer. Å vise at slike systemer påvirker motivasjonskomponenter knyttet til dataspill øker forståelsen for hvordan belønningssystemer kan påvirke og fremme dataspillavhengighet. Vi forventet at en foreldreveileder ville endre forekomst av dataspillproblemer og hvordan foreldre hånderte dataspill hos sine barn. Ingen effekt ble funnet, og det konkluderes med at slike veiledere neppe har verdi som primærforebyggende tiltak, men at de heller bør prøves ut som sekundærforebyggende intervensjoner.

In the 5th ed. of the diagnostic manual for mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association (2013) criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder (video game addiction) were proposed, under Conditions for Further Study. Accordingly we aim to add knowledge about the validity of this condition. In the period 2012-2014 we conducted annual surveys among a representative sample of Norwegian adolescents. Questions about video game addiction as well as about other mental constructs such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, alcohol use and aggression were asked. By cross-lagged analyses we will investigate whether video game addiction and video game engagement are preceded by and/or precede the other mental constructs, thus revealing information about the directionality between these concepts. In the third and last wave we have included a scale based on the new criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder and will investigate it's psychometric properties (reliability, validity, predictors and item-response analyses). It has been assumed that reward characteristics of video games may contribute to excessive gaming. Through the use of a developed video game wherein reward characteristics may be manipulated experimentally, we will investigate the effects of immediate vs. delayed reward in one experiment. In a second experiment we will investigate the effects of winning and losing by small and large margins. I an third experiment we will examine the effects of winning or losing shown on a score board (against 3-4 real competetors). In all three experiments, outcome will be assessed in terms of affects, urges, regret and heart rate. Parents failure to set limits has been suggested as one factor contributing to excessive video gaming. In line with this, we will develop a parental guide aimed at preventing such problems. Half of a sample of 4000 parents randomly drawn from the population registry will receive the guide - the other half comprises the control group. After six months we will assess how parents regulate video game behavior and levels of video game problems in the children.


BEDREHELSE-Bedre helse og livskvalitet