World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

November 16, 2010 -

Dr. Jeroen Lemmens is a teacher at the University of Amsterdam and just last week successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD, which he believes makes him the world’s first possessor of a PhD in game addiction.

Dr.  Lemmens’ dissertation consisted of four articles, which are summarized in a paper entitled Causes and Consequences of Pathological Gaming (PDF). According to the doctor, it’s the first time longitudinal analyses were utilized in order to reveal the causes and consequences of pathological involvement with games.

The paper’s underlying claim is that “adolescent gamers with pre‐existing psychosocial vulnerabilities, such as loneliness, low social competence, and low self‐esteem, are more likely to become pathologically involved with games.”

Even though the pathological use of games “can seriously disrupt the lives of players and their families,” the dissertation cautions that “it is important that we do not overstate the dangers of computer and video games,” as for the vast majority, “games are nothing but a source of enjoyment and pleasure.”

Advice was offered for parents of children who might have a pathological gaming pattern:

Simply reducing the amount of time spent on games may not be an effective solution because the psychosocial problems remain. Therefore, treatment and prevention might focus on activities that stimulate the development of social skills that improve social interaction and build self‐esteem in a non‐gaming environment.

Dr. Lemmens told GamePolitics that he hopes to perform more longitudinal research on game addiction in the future. When we asked if he was a gamer, the reply was affirmative, with the doctor adding that he loves playing videogames and this love “is what got me interested in this line of research.”

He also further described his findings for us, stating:

I also think it is worth noting that our findings indicate that games themselves are not addictive. However, certain adolescent males with pre-existing psychosocial vulnerabilities are more susceptible to developing pathological involvement, especially with games that have online multiplayer components. It seems likely that the social interaction in these games is used to compensate for their real-world social deficiencies.

We ran Dr. Lemmens’ research past Texas A&M International University Associate Professor, and videogame researcher, Christopher Ferguson, who responded that “The finding that pathological gaming rises from underlying psychopathology (rather than something unique to games) jives with the research I've seen.”


Comments

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

Professor Mark Griffiths just informed me that this is not the first PhD in game addiction. He co-supervised a PhD student last year who wrote his thesis on game addiction. Dr Daniel King from the University of Adelaide is the world's first, not me. Sorry for the confusion.

 

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

While I agree with many points in the paper, the opening e-mail is bothersome.  The concerned mother started off claiming that her son has a known and well documented affliction, ADD, but does not mention if he is being treated for it, if he is withdrawn, bullied, etc.  This kid latched onto games to fill a void in his life, one that can stem from any number of reasons including parents refusing to treat ADD because they don't believe in medication.

I believe that starting off the paper with an e-mail that is full of emotion but no practice tainted the way I read the rest of the document :(

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

Let's hear it for reason.

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

 Finally, someone with sense. 

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

Well this seems a far more reasonable approach than the op-ed posted yesterday.  I'm not sure I'm wild about including a "pathological gaming" category in the DSM mostly because I'm concerned it would be abused and politicized.  But I like to see researchers taking a calm objective approach as this.

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

I agree with him for the most part. People who have a gap in their social needs will attempt to latch to something that gives them that satisfaction they are missing. Video gaming tends to be an easy one to get into and get that social need that a person desires or lacks.

He even said that games themselves are NOT addictive, but merely the social effect or that feeling of satisfaction you get is what people get obessive with. Which I am glad someone actually cared to make that statement. To call it addiction is false. Is it pathological in nature though? Absolutely! However I am sure many people will jump on the bandwagon and say it is addiction...

Pathology/Pathological: Any variant or deviant condition from normal. Caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition.

---------

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

 

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

" I also think it is worth noting that our findings indicate that games themselves are not addictive. However, certain adolescent males with pre-existing psychosocial vulnerabilities are more susceptible to developing pathological involvement, especially with games that have online multiplayer components. It seems likely that the social interaction in these games is used to compensate for their real-world social deficiencies."

To me, this is pretty much an obvious statement of fact.

Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
james_fudgeI'll be watching the Facebook page09/01/2015 - 10:14am
james_fudgethe site maybe up right now, but we're not updating until we're at the new location.09/01/2015 - 10:13am
james_fudgehttps://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics09/01/2015 - 10:12am
Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Vx4_prmvo09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MattsworknameTotal bisquit talkes about why teh Deus X pre order systems is garbage.09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MechaTama31Infophile: Kind of like how you're criticizing these theoretical reactions before you've even read any? ;)09/01/2015 - 12:44am
PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
james_fudgeAlso check out our Facebook page and chat there! https://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics08/31/2015 - 9:53pm
james_fudgeSee you all on the other side! Find me on Twitter :)08/31/2015 - 9:51pm
james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenYeah, we could use my Twitch chat box too. There's always IRC but we don't currently have a GamePolitics channel.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician