Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

January 25, 2011 -

Do you lie awake at night wondering why Professor Douglas Gentile conducted his latest video game addiction study in Singapore?  Well get ready for a good night’s sleep at last because that and other pressing questions have been answered in a recent interview with Gentile by PlayStation LifeStyle.

To recap, the study was conducted by surveying 3,034 Singapore children (averaging 9-years-old) about their gaming habits to determine whether any of them were “pathological gamers.”  The questions were based on the ones use to identify people suffering from pathological gambling, the only medically recognized behavioral addiction.  But is simply asking children about their gaming habits the best way to go about determining such a thing?  Wouldn’t kids predisposed to lying skew the results?  Gentile responds:

“I think your argument is not likely for many reasons, some of which are cultural differences between US and Singaporean children, and some of which are due to the fact that the kids didn’t know what we were studying. It was a big study that went across 4 days of testing each year for 3 years. This is only one small part, and they didn’t know how the data would be used.”

Gentile was then asked if the kids identified as addicted to games were tested for other addictions.  “Were they susceptible to addictions, or did gaming cause them to be addictive?”

“No, as these were children who would not be able to gamble easily, and drugs are not available in Singapore (drug dealers get the death sentence first offense!).  That said, I have a hard time with the word “addictive,” as I think this is really an impulse-control disorder (as is pathological gambling, by the way)”

So where do parents fit in?

“I think we don’t need to look for someone to blame. Of course parents should be involved in their children’s media habits, as many of my studies show. I think that for some children, the gaming gets out of balance with their other responsibilities, and they need help from their parents, friends, and possibly professionals.”

And the government?

“I think we need more research to determine if this is the same level and type of problem as other addictions. Other than that, I don’t see that governments really should have much role in this. It’s something the medical community will need to consider, which may ultimately have an impact on diagnosis and treatment.”


Oh, and why Singapore?

“That’s where the grant to study games was given.”

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

You are all idiots. Never has Dr. Gentile said he “hates  video games”. I work in his lab at Iowa State so I think I’d know. We study media research; TV, movies, and video games, not sports psychology. We’re not saying video games are pure evil, as a matter of fact most of us that work here love them including Dr. Gentile. What we’re saying is you can get addicted to these if you have the right (or wrong) predispositions for it.  And if you look, Dr. Gentile is a developmental psychologist (this means he studies kids, for those of you who are too ignorant to understand that) so this mostly applies to children. We are asking parents to be more aware of what their children are doing and the consequences that could come of it. Take time to research him before you bash him. Thanks.

 

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

I would like to know why this man hates videogames so much that he is willing to manipulate his own data in order to prove that he is right?

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Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

I return to 'borderline academic fraud'.... the use of adult pathological gambling criteria on 9 year olds is not going to produce meaningful results.  At least a 3rd of the criteria do not even make sense (they relate to income, money, or relationships).. and others fit normal 9 year old behavior (such as lieing so you can do more of the activity).

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

I like how studies like this rely on factors that are varied (sometimes to an extreme degree) in other nations, then attempt to use them as a way to explain everywhere else. It's like removing a cake from a picnic table because ants are getting on it, expecting that action to make the ants go away, while ignoring every other piece of food that they're nomming on.

Re: Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

my question is, has he tried looking at this from another angle, say football or partying?  why try to equate this only with video games when such a 'disorder' could very well show up in something else?

that last question makes me wonder how much of that grant money went into his own pocket...

 
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MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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