Refining Game Addiction Questionnairs: Evidence for a natural cut-off point?

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This paper presents data from a pilot study, which was designed to illuminate critical flaws in the currently used instruments used to measure the prevalence of ‘computer game addiction’. The study found that the prevalence rate could be set anywhere between 23% and 0,6% depending on how the data set is scored. Thus demonstrating how an arbitrarily set of cut-off point in prevalence studies can yield wildly varying prevalence rates. The data further show that making implicit assumptions about negative effects of playing behavior explicit drastically decreases the prevalence rate. Thus the data supported both the initial hypothesis that 1) prevalence rates can be determined very differently according to where the cut-off point is set, 2) employing a ‘monothetic’ rather than a ‘polythetic’ approach will further decrease the measured prevalence rate, and 3) that weeding out ‘highly engaged gamers’ from ‘addicted gamers’ by making implicit assumptions about negative effects explicit will cause prevalence rates to drop even further. Unexpectedly, the data from this modified questionnaire provides preliminary evidence for a natural cut-off point that clearly separates addicted play from normal play. Furthermore, the data highlights the problem that all items in these instruments are scored equally because some symptoms are common and others are rare.
Though limited by only featuring 172 participants, recruited from a single forum, with no way of knowing if and how the survey- link was spread, this study is unique in the field of prevalence studies of computer game addiction both in its design and its findings. The findings and conclusions need to be addressed by future research in the area.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2013)
Number of pages2
Publication date17 May 2013
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9913982-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2013
EventFDG 2013: Foundations of Digital Games - Chania, Greece
Duration: 14 May 201317 May 2013
Conference number: 8


ConferenceFDG 2013: Foundations of Digital Games
Internet address


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


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