Gamers’ insights into the phenomenology of normal gaming and game “addiction”: A mixed methods study

Michelle Colder Carras, Anne Marie Porter, Antonius J. Van Rooij, Daniel King, Amanda Lange, Matthew Carras, Alain Labrique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


In response to calls for further research into the phenomenology of Internet gaming disorder (IGD), we used a community-engaged consensus development approach to evaluate how members of the “gamer culture” describe problematic gaming and the relationship of these descriptions to the proposed IGD criteria. Two focus groups of gamers were recruited at a video game convention. Participants were asked to submit suggestions for signs of game “addiction”. Participants discussed and ranked the criteria in order of conceptual importance. The rankings were analyzed quantitatively, and then a multidisciplinary team compared the ranked criteria to the DSM-5 IGD proposed criteria. The strongest agreement between participants’ rankings and IGD symptomatology was found for harms/functional impairment due to gaming, continued use despite problems, unsuccessful attempts to control gaming, and loss of interest in previous hobbies and entertainment. There was less support for other IGD criteria. Participants also offered new content domains. These findings suggest that collaborative knowledge-building approaches may help researchers and policymakers understand the characteristics and processes specific to problematic video game play and improve content validity of IGD criteria. Future efforts may benefit from multi-stakeholder approaches to refine IGD criteria and inform theory, measurement and intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Community-based participatory research
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Mixed methods research
  • Qualitative research
  • Video game addiction


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