Background and aims: The concept of impaired control is central to addictive disorders, including gaming disorder in the DSM-5 and ICD-11. Impaired control refers to the recurrent inability to resist impulses to engage in certain activities or behaviours and the failure to limit or stop this engagement. Although numerous screening tools for gaming disorder symptoms have been developed, these instruments have limited capacity for measuring the nature and extent of impaired control. To address this limitation, the present study reports on the creation of the Impaired Control Over Gaming Scale (ICOGS), an 8-item screening tool to assess gaming-related impaired control.
Methods: A total of 513 gamers, including 125 gamers (24.3%) who met the DSM-5 criteria for gaming disorder, were recruited from Prolific, an online crowd-sourcing platform.
Results: The ICOGS demonstrated promising psychometric properties. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis using two samples provided robust support for a 2-factor model and high internal consistency of the scale. ICOGS scores were significantly and positively associated with gaming disorder symptoms, gaming-related harms, gaming frequency, psychological distress, and neuroticism. Using receiver operating characteristic analysis, the ICOGS differentiated between non-problem gamers and those who met the criteria for GD.
Discussion and conclusions: Overall, the ICOGS appears to be a valid and reliable scale for use in studies of problem gaming, and may be useful for assessing outcomes of GD interventions that employ self-regulation and stopping techniques to reduce or eliminate problem gaming behavior.
- Gaming disorder
- Impaired control
- Scale development