Person-centred interventions for problem gaming: a stepped care approach

Jennifer J. Park, Laura Wilkinson-Meyers, Daniel L. King, Simone N. Rodda

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Abstract

Background: Problem gaming is reported by approximately 1–3% of the population and is associated with decreased health and wellbeing. Research on optimal health responses to problem gaming remains limited. This study aimed to identify and describe the key components of a person-centred approach to interventions for problem gaming for individuals who voluntary seek assistance. Methods: Online interviews were conducted with 20 adults (90% male; Mage = 23y) currently seeking help for problem gaming. The interview protocol was guided by a health care access framework which investigated participants’ experiences and needs related to accessing professional support. Transcripts were analysed in NVivo using qualitative content analysis to systematically classify participant data into the themes informed by this framework. Results: Participants had mixed views on how the negative consequences of problem gaming could be best addressed. Some indicated problems could be addressed through self-help resources whereas others suggested in-person treatment with a health professional who had expertise in gaming. Participants described the essential components of an effective health service for problem gaming as including: valid and reliable screening tools; practitioners with specialist knowledge of gaming; and access to a multimodal system of intervention, including self-help, internet and in-person options that allow gamers to easily transition between types and intensity of support. Conclusion: A comprehensive health care approach for interventions for problem gaming is in its infancy, with numerous service access and delivery issues still to be resolved. This study highlights the importance of involving individuals with gaming-related problems in developing solutions that are fit for purpose and address the spectrum of individual preferences and needs. These findings recommend a stepped healthcare system that adheres to evidence-based practice tailored to each individual and the implementation of standard assessment and routine outcome monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number872
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021

Keywords

  • Gaming disorder
  • Internet gaming
  • Intervention
  • Screening
  • Treatment

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