Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 gaming disorder proposal

Aarseth, Espen and Bean, Anthony M. and Boonen, Huub and Colder Carras, Michelle and Coulson, Mark and Das, Dimitri and Deleuze, Jory and Dunkels, Elza and Edman, Johan and Ferguson, Christopher J. and Haagsma, Maria C. and Helmersson Bergmark, Karin and Hussain, Zaheer and Jansz, Jeroen and Kardefelt-Winther, Daniel and Kutner, Lawrence and Markey, Patrick and Nielsen, Rune Kristian Lundedal and Prause, Nicole and Przybylski, Andrew and Quandt, Thorsten and Schimmenti, Adriano and Starcevic, Vladan and Stutman, Gabrielle and Van Looy, Jan and Van Rooij, Antonius J. (2017) Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 gaming disorder proposal. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6 (3). pp. 267-270. ISSN 2062-5871

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Abstract

Concerns about problematic gaming behaviors deserve our full attention. However, we claim that it is far from clear that these problems can or should be attributed to a new disorder. The empirical basis for a Gaming Disorder proposal, such as in the new ICD-11, suffers from fundamental issues. Our main concerns are the low quality of the research base, the fact that the current operationalization leans too heavily on substance use and gambling criteria, and the lack of consensus on symptomatology and assessment of problematic gaming. The act of formalizing this disorder, even as a proposal, has negative medical, scientific, public-health, societal, and human rights fallout that should be considered. Of particular concern are moral panics around the harm of video gaming. They might result in premature application of diagnosis in the medical community and the treatment of abundant false-positive cases, especially for children and adolescents. Second, research will be locked into a confirmatory approach, rather than an exploration of the boundaries of normal versus pathological. Third, the healthy majority of gamers will be affected negatively. We expect that the premature inclusion of Gaming Disorder as a diagnosis in ICD-11 will cause significant stigma to the millions of children who play video games as a part of a normal, healthy life. At this point, suggesting formal diagnoses and categories is premature: the ICD-11 proposal for Gaming Disorder should be removed to avoid a waste of public health resources as well as to avoid causing harm to healthy video gamers around the world.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 23255
Notes on copyright: © 2016 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Depositing User: Mark Coulson
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 16:58
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2018 16:44
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23255

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