Features of Parent-Child Relationships in Adolescents with Internet Gaming Disorder

Daniel L. King, Paul H. Delfabbro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Problematic use of Internet games is recognized as a significant mental health issue for adolescents and their families. The present study investigated features of the parent-child relationship, including trust, communication, and alienation, in the context of adolescents’ Internet gaming problems. A total of 824 secondary school students (402 males and 422 females) aged 12 to 17 years completed a survey on Internet gaming activities; the DSM-5 Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) checklist and the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA). The results showed that adolescents with Internet gaming problems reported significantly less trust and communication, and greater anger and alienation, in their maternal and paternal relationships, as compared to adolescents without gaming problems. Adolescents at high risk of IGD reported significantly more gaming time with strangers (32.6 % vs. 7.9 %) and were more likely to play massively multiplayer online (MMO) games than non-problem adolescents. However, IPPA total scores did not significantly predict IGD symptoms, after controlling for gender and level of gaming activity, and IPPA scores did not mediate the association between Internet gaming time and IGD symptoms. Although family conflict can be one of the negative consequences of problematic gaming, these results suggest that, based on adolescent self-report, parent-child relationships may be only a weak correlate of Internet gaming problems in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1283
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Adolescence
  • Attachment
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Parent


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