A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: let us err on the side of caution

Van Rooij, Antonius J. and Ferguson, Christopher J. and Colder Carras, Michelle and Kardefelt-Winther, Daniel and Shi, Jing and Aarseth, Espen and Bean, Anthony M. and Bergmark, Karin Helmersson and Brus, Anne and Coulson, Mark and Deleuze, Jory and Dullur, Pravin and Dunkels, Elza and Edman, Johan and Elson, Malte and Etchells, Peter J. and Fiskaali, Anne and Granic, Isabela and Jansz, Jeroen and Karlsen, Faltin and Kaye, Linda K. and Kirsh, Bonnie and Lieberoth, Andreas and Markey, Patrick and Mills, Kathryn L. and Nielsen, Rune Kristian Lundedal and Orben, Amy and Poulsen, Arne and Prause, Nicole and Prax, Patrick and Quandt, Thorsten and Schimmenti, Adriano and Starcevic, Vladan and Stutman, Gabrielle and Turner, Nigel E. and van Looy, Jan and Przybylski, Andrew K. (2018) A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: let us err on the side of caution. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7 (1). pp. 1-9. ISSN 2062-5871

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Abstract

We greatly appreciate the care and thought that is evident in the 10 commentaries that discuss our debate paper, the
majority of which argued in favor of a formalized ICD-11 gaming disorder. We agree that there are some people
whose play of video games is related to life problems. We believe that understanding this population and the nature
and severity of the problems they experience should be a focus area for future research. However, moving from
research construct to formal disorder requires a much stronger evidence base than we currently have. The burden of
evidence and the clinical utility should be extremely high, because there is a genuine risk of abuse of diagnoses. We
provide suggestions about the level of evidence that might be required: transparent and preregistered studies, a better
demarcation of the subject area that includes a rationale for focusing on gaming particularly versus a more general
behavioral addictions concept, the exploration of non-addiction approaches, and the unbiased exploration of clinical
approaches that treat potentially underlying issues, such as depressive mood or social anxiety first. We acknowledge
there could be benefits to formalizing gaming disorder, many of which were highlighted by colleagues in their
commentaries, but we think they do not yet outweigh the wider societal and public health risks involved. Given the
gravity of diagnostic classification and its wider societal impact, we urge our colleagues at the WHO to err on the side
of caution for now and postpone the formalization.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 23930
Notes on copyright: © 2018 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Mark Coulson
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 17:07
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2018 17:58
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23930

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