World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

November 16, 2010 -

Dr. Jeroen Lemmens is a teacher at the University of Amsterdam and just last week successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD, which he believes makes him the world’s first possessor of a PhD in game addiction.

Dr.  Lemmens’ dissertation consisted of four articles, which are summarized in a paper entitled Causes and Consequences of Pathological Gaming (PDF). According to the doctor, it’s the first time longitudinal analyses were utilized in order to reveal the causes and consequences of pathological involvement with games.

The paper’s underlying claim is that “adolescent gamers with pre‐existing psychosocial vulnerabilities, such as loneliness, low social competence, and low self‐esteem, are more likely to become pathologically involved with games.”

Even though the pathological use of games “can seriously disrupt the lives of players and their families,” the dissertation cautions that “it is important that we do not overstate the dangers of computer and video games,” as for the vast majority, “games are nothing but a source of enjoyment and pleasure.”

Advice was offered for parents of children who might have a pathological gaming pattern:

Simply reducing the amount of time spent on games may not be an effective solution because the psychosocial problems remain. Therefore, treatment and prevention might focus on activities that stimulate the development of social skills that improve social interaction and build self‐esteem in a non‐gaming environment.

Dr. Lemmens told GamePolitics that he hopes to perform more longitudinal research on game addiction in the future. When we asked if he was a gamer, the reply was affirmative, with the doctor adding that he loves playing videogames and this love “is what got me interested in this line of research.”

He also further described his findings for us, stating:

I also think it is worth noting that our findings indicate that games themselves are not addictive. However, certain adolescent males with pre-existing psychosocial vulnerabilities are more susceptible to developing pathological involvement, especially with games that have online multiplayer components. It seems likely that the social interaction in these games is used to compensate for their real-world social deficiencies.

We ran Dr. Lemmens’ research past Texas A&M International University Associate Professor, and videogame researcher, Christopher Ferguson, who responded that “The finding that pathological gaming rises from underlying psychopathology (rather than something unique to games) jives with the research I've seen.”


Comments

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

Professor Mark Griffiths just informed me that this is not the first PhD in game addiction. He co-supervised a PhD student last year who wrote his thesis on game addiction. Dr Daniel King from the University of Adelaide is the world's first, not me. Sorry for the confusion.

 

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

While I agree with many points in the paper, the opening e-mail is bothersome.  The concerned mother started off claiming that her son has a known and well documented affliction, ADD, but does not mention if he is being treated for it, if he is withdrawn, bullied, etc.  This kid latched onto games to fill a void in his life, one that can stem from any number of reasons including parents refusing to treat ADD because they don't believe in medication.

I believe that starting off the paper with an e-mail that is full of emotion but no practice tainted the way I read the rest of the document :(

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

Let's hear it for reason.

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

 Finally, someone with sense. 

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

Well this seems a far more reasonable approach than the op-ed posted yesterday.  I'm not sure I'm wild about including a "pathological gaming" category in the DSM mostly because I'm concerned it would be abused and politicized.  But I like to see researchers taking a calm objective approach as this.

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

I agree with him for the most part. People who have a gap in their social needs will attempt to latch to something that gives them that satisfaction they are missing. Video gaming tends to be an easy one to get into and get that social need that a person desires or lacks.

He even said that games themselves are NOT addictive, but merely the social effect or that feeling of satisfaction you get is what people get obessive with. Which I am glad someone actually cared to make that statement. To call it addiction is false. Is it pathological in nature though? Absolutely! However I am sure many people will jump on the bandwagon and say it is addiction...

Pathology/Pathological: Any variant or deviant condition from normal. Caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition.

---------

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

 

Re: World’s First PhD in Game Addiction?

" I also think it is worth noting that our findings indicate that games themselves are not addictive. However, certain adolescent males with pre-existing psychosocial vulnerabilities are more susceptible to developing pathological involvement, especially with games that have online multiplayer components. It seems likely that the social interaction in these games is used to compensate for their real-world social deficiencies."

To me, this is pretty much an obvious statement of fact.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
MaskedPixelanteOK, so my brief research looking at GameFAQs forums (protip, don't do that if you wish to keep your sanity intact.), the 3DS doesn't have the power to run anything more powerful than the NES/GBC/GG AND run the 3DS system in the background.07/28/2014 - 11:01am
ZenMatthew, the 3DS already has GBA games in the form of the ambassador tittles. And I an just as curious about them not releasing them on there like they did the NES ones. I do like them on the Wii U as well, but seems weird. And where are the N64 games?07/28/2014 - 10:40am
james_fudgeNo. They already cut the price. Unless they release a new version that has a higher price point.07/28/2014 - 10:19am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, It most likely is. The question is whether Nintendo wants to do it.07/28/2014 - 10:12am
Matthew WilsonI am sure the 3ds im more then powerful enough to emulate a GBA game.07/28/2014 - 9:54am
Sleaker@IanC - while the processor is effectively the same or very similar, the issue is how they setup the peripheral hardware. It would probably require creating some kind of emulation for the 3DS to handle interfacing with the audio and input methods for GBA07/28/2014 - 9:30am
Sleaker@EZK - hmmm, that makes sense. I could have sworn I had played GB/GBC games on it too though (emud of course)07/28/2014 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, the DS has a built in GBA chipset in the system. That is why it played GBA games. The GBA had a seperate chipset for GB and GBColor games. The DS did not have that GB/GBC chipset and that is why the DS could not play GB and GBC games.07/28/2014 - 7:25am
IanCI dont think Nintendo ever gave reason why GBA games a reason why GBA games aren't on the 3DS eshop. The 3DS uses chips that are backwards compatable with the GBA ob GBA processor, after all.07/28/2014 - 6:46am
Sleakerhmmm that's odd I could play GBA games natively in my original DS.07/28/2014 - 1:39am
Matthew Wilsonbasically "we do not want to put these games on a system more then 10 people own" just joking07/27/2014 - 8:13pm
MaskedPixelanteSomething, something, the 3DS can't properly emulate GBA games and it was a massive struggle to get the ambassador games running properly.07/27/2014 - 8:06pm
Andrew EisenIdeally, you'd be able to play such games on either platform but until that time, I think Nintendo's using the exclusivity in an attempt to further drive Wii U sales.07/27/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew WilsonI am kind of surprised games like battle network are not out on the 3ds.07/27/2014 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenWell, Mega Man 1 - 4, X and X2 are already on there and the first Battle Network is due out July 31st.07/27/2014 - 6:16pm
MaskedPixelanteDid Capcom ever give us a timeline for when they planned on putting the Megaman stuff on Wii U?07/27/2014 - 2:23pm
MaskedPixelanteIf by "distance themselves from Google Plus" you mean "forcing Google Plus integration in everything", then yes, they are distancing themselves from Google Plus.07/26/2014 - 12:20pm
MechaTama31I wish they would distance G+ from the Play Store, so I could leave reviews and comments again.07/26/2014 - 11:03am
Matthew Wilson@pm I doubt it. Google seems to be distancing themselves from G+07/25/2014 - 9:31pm
Papa MidnightGoogle+ Integration is coming to Twitch!07/25/2014 - 8:41pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician