Problematic gaming risk among European adolescents: a cross-national evaluation of individual and socio-economic factors

Emanuela Colasante, Erika Pivetta, Natale Canale, Alessio Vieno, Claudia Marino, Michela Lenzi, Elisa Benedetti, Daniel L. King, Sabrina Molinaro

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and Aims: Previous research has identified numerous risk and protective factors of adolescent problematic gaming (PG) at the individual and social levels; however, the influence of socio-economic indicators on PG is less known. This study aimed to measure the contribution of individual and socio-economic factors involved in PG risk among adolescents from 30 European countries. Design: Multi-level logistic regression analysis of survey data from the 2019 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) cross-sectional study using self-administered anonymous questionnaires. Setting: Thirty European countries. Participants: A representative cohort of 15–16-year-old students (n = 88 998 students; males = 49.2%). Measurements: The primary outcome measure was adolescents’ (low and high) risk of PG. Individual key predictors included self-report assessments of socio-demographic characteristics, time spent gaming and family variables (parental regulation and monitoring, family support). Main country-level predictors comprised Gini coefficient for economic inequalities and benefits for families and children (% gross domestic product), retrieved from international public data sets and national thematic reports. The data analysis plan involved multi-level logistic regression. Findings: Participants who reported stronger parental regulation [odds ratio (OR) = 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.79–0.83] and higher family support (OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.91–0.95) reported lower risk of PG. At the country-level, economic inequalities (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.03–1.07) were positively associated with the risk of PG, while benefits for families and children (OR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.70–0.89) were negatively correlated with the risk of PG. Conclusions: Supportive family environments, lower country-level economic inequalities and higher government expenditures on benefits for families and children appear to be associated with a lower risk of problematic gaming among European adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-2282
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Early online date15 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Adolescence
  • multi-level analysis
  • problematic gaming
  • representative sampling
  • risk factors


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