Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

January 25, 2011 -

Do you lie awake at night wondering why Professor Douglas Gentile conducted his latest video game addiction study in Singapore?  Well get ready for a good night’s sleep at last because that and other pressing questions have been answered in a recent interview with Gentile by PlayStation LifeStyle.

To recap, the study was conducted by surveying 3,034 Singapore children (averaging 9-years-old) about their gaming habits to determine whether any of them were “pathological gamers.”  The questions were based on the ones use to identify people suffering from pathological gambling, the only medically recognized behavioral addiction.  But is simply asking children about their gaming habits the best way to go about determining such a thing?  Wouldn’t kids predisposed to lying skew the results?  Gentile responds:

“I think your argument is not likely for many reasons, some of which are cultural differences between US and Singaporean children, and some of which are due to the fact that the kids didn’t know what we were studying. It was a big study that went across 4 days of testing each year for 3 years. This is only one small part, and they didn’t know how the data would be used.”

Gentile was then asked if the kids identified as addicted to games were tested for other addictions.  “Were they susceptible to addictions, or did gaming cause them to be addictive?”

“No, as these were children who would not be able to gamble easily, and drugs are not available in Singapore (drug dealers get the death sentence first offense!).  That said, I have a hard time with the word “addictive,” as I think this is really an impulse-control disorder (as is pathological gambling, by the way)”

So where do parents fit in?

“I think we don’t need to look for someone to blame. Of course parents should be involved in their children’s media habits, as many of my studies show. I think that for some children, the gaming gets out of balance with their other responsibilities, and they need help from their parents, friends, and possibly professionals.”

And the government?

“I think we need more research to determine if this is the same level and type of problem as other addictions. Other than that, I don’t see that governments really should have much role in this. It’s something the medical community will need to consider, which may ultimately have an impact on diagnosis and treatment.”


Oh, and why Singapore?

“That’s where the grant to study games was given.”

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

You are all idiots. Never has Dr. Gentile said he “hates  video games”. I work in his lab at Iowa State so I think I’d know. We study media research; TV, movies, and video games, not sports psychology. We’re not saying video games are pure evil, as a matter of fact most of us that work here love them including Dr. Gentile. What we’re saying is you can get addicted to these if you have the right (or wrong) predispositions for it.  And if you look, Dr. Gentile is a developmental psychologist (this means he studies kids, for those of you who are too ignorant to understand that) so this mostly applies to children. We are asking parents to be more aware of what their children are doing and the consequences that could come of it. Take time to research him before you bash him. Thanks.

 

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

I would like to know why this man hates videogames so much that he is willing to manipulate his own data in order to prove that he is right?

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Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

I return to 'borderline academic fraud'.... the use of adult pathological gambling criteria on 9 year olds is not going to produce meaningful results.  At least a 3rd of the criteria do not even make sense (they relate to income, money, or relationships).. and others fit normal 9 year old behavior (such as lieing so you can do more of the activity).

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

I like how studies like this rely on factors that are varied (sometimes to an extreme degree) in other nations, then attempt to use them as a way to explain everywhere else. It's like removing a cake from a picnic table because ants are getting on it, expecting that action to make the ants go away, while ignoring every other piece of food that they're nomming on.

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

my question is, has he tried looking at this from another angle, say football or partying?  why try to equate this only with video games when such a 'disorder' could very well show up in something else?

that last question makes me wonder how much of that grant money went into his own pocket...

 
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E. Zachary KnightMatthew, AE, Yeah, that is why I have a hard time understanding critics of Sarkeesian. I look at her videos as a Feminist review of video games, but for some reason, others look at them as personal attacks.10/30/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightDefinitely a good answer. That is the way I lean. If you actively chose to stop gaming, or just stopped out of habit, then yeah, you are no longer a gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:45am
Matthew WilsonAE i agree, but it is worth pointing out the fact that that is whats happening.10/30/2014 - 11:45am
quiknkoldbehavior to warrant having a Title that doesnt involve a piece of paper.10/30/2014 - 11:43am
quiknkoldwaiting in line. Thats not being a Gamer. Thats akin to me reading a Pamphlet in line and calling myself an active reader. or watching a movie trailer on a tv in walmart and calling myself an active movie goer. There has to be some form of repetitive10/30/2014 - 11:42am
quiknkoldbeing A Gamer is a Conscious decision. I am consciously engaging in this form of media and showing some form of enthusiasm. The only person I Wouldnt call a gamer is somebody who has a random game on their phone just to kill 5 minutes cause they are10/30/2014 - 11:41am
E. Zachary KnightSo how much time must pass since the last time you played a game before you are no longer a gamer?10/30/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew Eisen"Plays" is present tense so the clarification doesn't seem necessary to me.10/30/2014 - 11:18am
quiknkoldI would change that from "One who plays games" To "One who currently plays games". Like my friend as a kid playd games but then he stopped and hasnt for the last decade+ so I wouldnt call him a Gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:16am
Andrew EisenHmm, that sounds like a great idea for a series of articles! I bet they'd be well-received and not taken the complete wrong way at all!10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenThat's right, gamer simply means one who plays games. That's it. The idea that "gamer" refers to something very limited and specific, well, that's no longer applicable in this day and age of mainstream gaming.10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenMatthew - As I said last night, that is not a bad thing. Different types of reviews to serve different interests is a GOOD thing and should be encouraged! There is not, nor should there be, only one way to review a game or anything else.10/30/2014 - 11:01am
ZippyDSMleeAnyone see this? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/29/1339617/-Cartoon-Gamergate-Contagion-Spreads?detail=facebook10/30/2014 - 10:55am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Matthew, yeah, there is no "wrong" way to review a game. It all depends on who the reviewer wants reading the review.10/30/2014 - 10:48am
quiknkoldhas their own stream, you are a gamer. I think the only prerequiset is to Play Games for Enjoyment10/30/2014 - 10:21am
quiknkoldI always felt the Gamer Identity was expressing an enthusiasm for Gaming in general. There are different degrees to that. If you say "I love this game and play it, lets see what else" with Ipad game, you are a gamer. If you are a retro game collector who10/30/2014 - 10:20am
NeenekoIt is long overdue, and things will probably settle down when they accept that the industry does not cater to them and them alone and go back to posturing within their own subculture.10/30/2014 - 10:10am
NeenekoThe community has always been split, with many factions within it, and they used to not interact all that much. Now they are having to confront they are not alone and thus not the one twue gamer identity.10/30/2014 - 10:09am
CMinerMW: The two are not mutually exclusive.10/30/2014 - 10:05am
Matthew Wilsonthe gaming community is going to split in to 2 groups. one wants games reviewed as product, and the other as art with all the social critique that comes with that. at this point i dont think it can be stopped sadly.10/30/2014 - 9:56am
 

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