Maladaptive cognitions predict changes in problematic gaming in highly-engaged adults: A 12-month longitudinal study

Cameron J. Forrest, Daniel L. King, Paul H. Delfabbro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the role of maladaptive gaming-related cognitions may assist in screening and interventions for problematic gaming, including Internet gaming disorder (IGD). Cognitive-behavioural interventions that target specific cognitions related to gaming may be more effective than more general approaches that focus only on preoccupation with games. Although past research has identified cross-sectional associations between maladaptive cognitions and problematic gaming, it is less clear whether these cognitions can predict future changes in problematic gaming behaviour. The present study employed an 18-item measure of gaming cognition, assessing perfectionism, cognitive salience, regret, and behavioural salience, to investigate potential changes in problematic gaming over a 12-month period. The sample included 465 Australian adults (84% male, Mage = 26.2 years). It was found that individuals who became problematic gamers over 12 months had higher baseline scores on perfectionism (d = 1.20), cognitive salience (d = 0.74) and regret (d = 0.69) than those who remained non-problematic gamers. Problematic gamers who became non-problematic gamers had lower baseline perfectionism scores (d = 0.62) than those who remained problematic gamers. Cognitive change accounted for an additional 28% of variance in problematic gaming scores beyond gender, age, and frequency of gaming. These findings suggest that maladaptive gaming-related cognitions could be screened in clinical trials to aid in case formulation and inform decisions on needed interventions to deliver optimal client outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive-behaviour therapy
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Longitudinal
  • Problem video-gaming


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