Challenges for Game Addiction as a Mental Health Diagnosis

Rune Kristian Nielsen, Espen Aarseth, Arne Poulsen

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we outline the proposed PhD project: "Challenges for Game Addiction as a Mental Health Diagnosis". The project aims to bridge gaps between the perspectives, theories and data of current research trajectories that engage with the concept of game addiction; from psychology, psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience to media and game studies. The project has several proposed outcomes. Based on a review of the literature, the adequacy of 'game addiction' as a concept is questioned. The concept is further discussed in a historical perspective of game related pathologies and media/moral panics. The validity of the prevalent instruments used to assess the prevalence of computer game addiction is examined in a cross-disciplinary context. The argument of the project is that research on computer game addiction is limited by mono-disciplinary approaches that fail to capture significant nuances at the cost of validity of results and instruments. The lack of communication between researchers has resulted in qualitative research that deny the existence of computer game addiction and quantitative research that assert the existence and prevalence of the phenomenon. Qualitative research cannot claim to capture as wide a sample as quantitative research and quantitative research cannot claim to capture the deep understanding and nuances of qualitative research. When the two methods produce conflicting results it stands to reason that a dispassionate review and analysis is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games : FDG 2014 Proceedings
Number of pages3
Publication date7 Apr 2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9913982-2-5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2014
Event The 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games - Ft. Lauderdale, FL, United States
Duration: 3 Apr 20147 Apr 2014
Conference number: 9


Conference The 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games
Country/TerritoryUnited States
City Ft. Lauderdale, FL,
Internet address


  • Psychology
  • game addiction
  • excessive gaming
  • video game questionnaires


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