Gaming addiction is a product of external factors, says report
Gaming addiction is now thought to be a product of external factors rather than a direct consequence from playing too many video games, according to a report from a global health body.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) made the decision to classify the emerging problem as a mental health condition last year.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recently started to accept patients who suffer from the condition. Elsewhere in the world, there is a Dutch clinic which also treats people who are burdened with symptoms, though it charges a staggering £55,000 for a 10-week programme.
However, a new study from Oxford University counters this by revealing “those engaged in dysfunctional gaming are likely to have underlying frustrations and wider psychosocial functioning issues outside of games”.
Rather than describing the problem as an addiction its own right, the report concludes that the issue emerges when someone faces pressures that are unrelated to gaming – forcing them to turn to escapism.
Professor Andrew Pryzbylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of the report, has stated previous studies have failed to examine external conditions when analysing gaming addiction.
“Our findings provided no evidence suggesting an unhealthy relationship with gaming accounts for substantial emotional, peer and behavioural problems,” he explained.
“Instead, variations in gaming experience are much more likely to be linked to whether adolescents’ basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and social belonging are being met and if they are already experiencing wider functioning issues.”
He concludes by claiming that, in light of the findings, there is insufficient evidence to warrant treating gaming addiction as a clinical disorder in its own right.
Interested in reading more gaming addiction-related stories? Discover more about history being made after the NHS began accepting patients suffering from the WHO-defined condition.