Harm severity in internet gaming disorder and problem gambling: A comparative study

Paul Delfabbro, Daniel L. King, Patrick Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the relative severity and nature of harms in different behavioural addictions. In this study, a range of harm-related questions were administered to 128 problem gamblers (M = 81, F = 45) classified using the Problem Gambling Severity Index and 72 problem gamers (M = 67, F = 5) classified using Petry et al.’s (2014) Internet Gaming Disorder measure. Respondents were recruited from two online samples obtained through Prolific. The study examined harms in five dimensions: financial, psychological, physical health, social and work/occupation. Harm items were scored using a method that allowed respondents to indicate the extent to which various harms were attributable to gambling. Problem gamblers reported significantly more harms and more severe harm than problem gamers. Problem gamers rarely reported financial harm, but greater physical harm (e.g., less exercise, poor hygiene). Gamblers were more likely to serious work harms (e.g., job losses) whereas gamers reported milder harms such as being late to work. Gaming disorder appears to be associated with a less severe profile of harm as compared with problem gambling, with most harms relating to neglect of personal wellbeing and commitments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106898
Number of pages7
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Gambling
  • Gaming
  • Harm
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Problem gambling


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