Measurement and Conceptualization of Gaming Disorder According to the World Health Organization Framework:the Development of the Gaming Disorder Test

Social Science & Medicine


Background: ‘Gaming Disorder’ (GD) is now an officially recognized mental health disorder according to the World Health Organization (WHO) framework while ‘Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) remains as a tentative disorder as per the American Psychiatric Association (APA) framework. Although both GD and IGD reflect disordered gaming tendencies marked by excessive time spent gaming, little is known about the extent to which too much time spent gaming becomes particularly problematic. Moreover, emerging research has highlighted the need to further explore how both disordered gaming frameworks perform in the assessment and estimation of disordered gaming symptoms and related behaviors. Methods: The primary aim of the present study was to shed light on the complex relationship between time spent gaming and disordered gaming and to provide prevalence estimates of disordered gaming across the WHO and APA frameworks. This study adopted an online survey methodology and a cross-sectional design in a large sample of 123,262 eligible gamers from 168 countries. Results: The results obtained indicated that the prevalence rate of disordered gaming among the participants was smaller when assessed with the WHO framework (i.e., 1.96%) in comparison to the APA framework (i.e., 4.97%). Additionally, the relationship between time spent gaming and disordered gaming varied, and disordered gaming was associated on average with 34.53 h of gaming a week within the APA framework (i.e., with at least five criteria endorsed; higher gaming-time-averages for those endorsing more criteria) and an average of 40.13 h a week within the WHO framework (i.e., with all criteria endorsed). Conclusions: The relationship between weekly time spent gaming and disordered gaming is multifaceted and varies according to the diagnostic framework adopted. The results highlight the need for further refinement at the diagnostic level in regard to disordered gaming.

Dr. Halley Pontes
Dr. Halley Pontes
Senior Lecturer in Psychology

My research interests include addictive behaviors, psychometrics, and cyberpsychology.