Video Game Addiction More Common Among Young, Single Guys

By May Wilkerson 04/27/16

A new study revealed that video game addiction was associated with ADHD, OCD and even depression.

Video Game Addiction More Common Among Young, Single Guys
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Video game addiction is more prevalent among young, single men, especially those suffering from certain psychiatric disorders, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, suggest that gaming may serve as an escape from the psychological stress associated with such disorders.

They suggest there is a link between video game addiction and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. Keeping an eye on young men who exhibit these traits could help with early intervention to prevent gaming addiction, say researchers. "Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies," said study lead Cecilie Schou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at the Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen. Addictive gaming can give way to neglecting one's health, work, school, and relationships with others. 

The study, which involved 20,000 male and female participants, found that men were more likely to be addicted to video games than women, especially among those not in a relationship. They also found a difference in terms of which kinds of media or technology men and women tend to get hooked on. "Men seem generally more likely to become addicted to online gaming, gambling, and cyber-pornography, while women to social media, texting, and online shopping," said Schou Andreassen.

The study used seven criteria to identify video game addiction. Answers were scored on a scale from "never" to "very often":

  • You think about playing a game all day long
  • You spend increasing amounts of time on games
  • You play games to forget about real life
  • Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use
  • You feel bad when you are unable to play
  • You have fights with others (e.g., family, friends) over your video game use
  • You neglect other important activities (like school, work, hobbies) to play games

If participants scored high on at least four of the seven items, they were considered problem gamers or addicts. However, addictive gaming is the exception to the rule. Said Schou Andreassen: “Most people have a relaxed relationship to video games and fairly good control."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.