Family factors in adolescent problematic Internet gaming: A systematic review

Luke A. Schneider, Daniel L. King, Paul H. Delfabbro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and aims: Familial influences are known to affect the likelihood of an adolescent becoming a problem gamer. This systematic review examined some of the key findings in empirical research on family factors related to adolescent problem gaming. Methods: A total of 14 studies in the past decade were evaluated. Family-related variables included: (a) parent status (e.g., socioeconomic status and mental health), (b) parent-child relationship (e.g., warmth, conflict, and abuse), (c) parental influence on gaming (e.g., supervision of gaming, modeling, and attitudes toward gaming), and (d) family environment (e.g., household composition). Results: The majority of studies have focused on parent-child relationships, reporting that poorer quality relationships are associated with increased severity of problem gaming. The paternal relationship may be protective against problem gaming; therefore, prevention programs should leverage the support of cooperative fathers. Discussion: The intergenerational effects of problem gaming require further attention, in light of adult gamers raising their children in a gaming-centric environment. Research has been limited by a reliance on adolescent self-report to understand family dynamics, without gathering corroborating information from parents and other family members. The very high rates of problem gaming (>10%) reported in general population samples raise concerns about the validity of current screening tools. Conclusions: Interventions for adolescents may be more effective in some cases if they can address familial influences on problem gaming with the active co-participation of parents, rather than enrolling vulnerable adolescents in individual-based training or temporarily isolating adolescents from the family system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-333
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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.


  • Addiction
  • Adolescence
  • DSM-5
  • Family
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Risk


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