Researchers Create Psych Test For Gaming Addiction

By Bryan Le 06/03/19

The test allows users to compare their results with others to see how their gaming habits line up to the greater population.

player with gaming addiction

Now that video game addiction is a recognized mental disorder, a new test aims to help people determine if they suffer from it.

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized video game addiction as a mental disorder. Now, academic researchers from the UK, Germany, China and Australia have banded together to create a test to help people determine if they have it. 

Like many types of addiction, simply engaging in gaming is not in itself a mental disorder. However, gaming addiction does become a mental disorder of a person plays so excessively that they begin to experience detrimental effects on other aspects of their life for a time span of more than a year.

The researchers have publicly released the test online in the form of a five to 10 minute quiz. In its current form the quiz rates its takers on a scale with a maximum score of 20, with a higher score indicating a greater tendency towards gaming addiction.

However, there is no definitive score that defines addiction, with the test instead comparing your results with everyone else’s to allow you to see how your gaming habits line up to the greater population. The test also determines your personal motivations for gaming, be it to kill time, compete with others, or to cope with negative emotions.

Of 550 gamers tested in the UK and China, 36 of them meet the WHO’s criteria for video gaming addiction, defined as “impaired control over gaming” as well as gaming taking “precedence over other interests and daily activities” with a continued pattern of such behavior even after repeated negative consequences.

At the end of May, the WHO announced that gaming addiction would be officially recognized in their newest revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11), which is due at the beginning of the year 2022. The move gained a lot of attention from critics, including video gaming media outlets.

The Entertainment Software Association blasted the move, stating that it “recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder.”

The announcement also drew ire from heath experts.

“It's really a junk diagnosis,” said Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, a mental health provider who co-wrote a journal article saying that the WHO’s diagnosis provided “little clarity… regarding diagnostic criteria and appropriate symptoms.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter