Study Finds Anecdotal Link to Game Addiction and Shooters, MMO’s

February 3, 2012 -

According to a new study conducted by the Institute for Special Populations Research in New York, some types of games are more addictive than others and have the potential to create "problem gaming" habits in a small percentage of gamers. While the mental health community is not quite ready to make the leap of faith it takes to proclaim that video game addiction is a real mental disorder like gambling and drug addiction, studies like this one are certainly trying to establish causation.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently rejected several proposals to include video game addiction in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (to be published in May 2013).

Luther Elliott, Andrew Golub, Eloise Dunlap, and Geoffrey Ream (from the School of Social Work at Adelphi University in New York - working with Special Populations Research) surveyed 3380 adult participants 18-years-old or older who identified themselves as having played one or more hours of gaming in the "last week."

The survey gathered information the amount of time played, games participants played in the past year, and any problems associated with playing. The research team used to sort 2652 titles identified by participants into 15 mutually exclusive genres: "MMORPG, other role-playing, action-adventure, first-person shooter, other shooter, sports general, sports other, rhythm, driving, platformer, real-time strategy, other strategy, puzzle, board and card games, gambling, and other."

Survey results showed that 5 percent of respondents reported "moderate to extreme problem game playing." Of those who admitted "problem gaming habits," the most cited games were first-person shooters, action-adventures, role-playing games, and gambling games during the past year. The most commonly cited games in the problem category included Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, and various poker titles.

"Perhaps the immersion potential of a first-person perspective, commonly combined with online competition, largely accounts for the higher rates of problem game playing," the study claims. "For action-adventure games, a trend towards nonlinear 'open-world' style environments in which extensive, time-consuming exploration is encouraged may create a context for more pervasive experiences of problem game playing."

While researchers admit that the data and their conclusions on it are "speculative at this point," they add that it provides "important avenues of exploration for future research."

Source: GameSpot. Image Credit:


Re: Study Finds Anecdotal Link to Game Addiction and ...

Are they just rewording the same damn studies now?

Re: Study Finds Anecdotal Link to Game Addiction and ...

I'd like to propose an investigation into this probability:

First, set up a scale of what might best be described as "Hypoactive" at one end of the scale, "normal" activity at the center, and "hyperactivity" at the other end.

Since some feel diagnosis of "hyperactivity" (and probably "hypoactivity") are over diagnosed and, in some cases even missed as a diagnosis, it may not be best to rely solely on formal diagnosis of such for individuals, but still there needs to be a way to place various individuals on this scale.

Have each individual also list in order their most favorite general genres of games (I know that sometimes there are variants to enumerating genres, but there are clearly "casual" genres versus "fast paced" and even somewhere inbetween genres).

Compare, first, the number 1 favorite genre to their activity scale and see how that compares.  A little additional interest might be how their top 5 favorite genres also rate in comparison.

Do the genres actually compare to their activity levels?  And as you go further down the list of favorites, does that change or remain the same?

It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation, or even link, between the two.  It may, in some sense, explain the claim of "addiction" as the correlation/link may show that the activity scale may show a much higher interest in a particular genre.  For example, do those on the scale of hyperactive move more towards the shooter games BECAUSE they are fast paced, feeding the hyperactive need and thereby APPEARING to be an addiction?

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

Re: Study Finds Anecdotal Link to Game Addiction and ...

An additive habit is an addiction?.......... lolwut!

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Re: Study Finds Anecdotal Link to Game Addiction and ...

This, I feel, is a failure to understand the dynamics of games and the nature of addictive game-playing behavior.

We have a lot of studies that do a good job establishing that "Game Addiction" is addictive behavior caused in response to other environmental stress, and has very little to do with the games in specific, and more about allowing the player to express control over their surroundings.

Knowing this, it's no surprise that MMOs and FPSs would be prominent choices for those playing games compulsively; both types of game provide players with numerous ways to express control over the game environment.

MMOs can provide status validation (via leveling and adventuring) for someone who feels worthless, and feelings of community (via groups and guilds) for someone who feels secluded or lonely. Admittedly, The Guild is practically a monument to the personalities who addictively pursue MMOs.

FPSs are probably more obvious; since they're a simple way for players to vent aggression and frustration. It can similarly provide sensations of validation (via performance) and community (via clans and regular servers).

Importantly, in both cases, they're interacting with other, human players. And in both cases, players have choices of games that support micro-transactions which may further support addictive behavior and provide additional advantage and status -- key ways of allowing the player to express control of the game, which further supports their addictive behavior.

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