Toward a delineation of the differences between high engagement and problem gaming

Jake D. Slack, Paul Delfabbro, Daniel L. King

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The boundary between highly engaged and problematic video gaming is often debated in the behavioral addictions field. The present study assessed whether quality of life, motivational and protective factors may differentiate high-frequency gamers (i.e., those who play 30 + hours per week) who did, and did not, meet the DSM-5 criteria for gaming disorder (GD). A total of 403 respondents completed an online survey including standard measures of GD, gaming motivation, quality of life (QOL), and protective factors for behavioral addiction (e.g., adequate sleep and healthy diet). Respondents with GD scored lower on all QOL measures and were more strongly motivated to use gaming to escape problems. Fewer protective factors were identified in GD cases, with an inability to balance gaming with sleep being the largest significant difference between the two groups. High-frequency gaming appears most likely to be problematic if it is used to escape real-world problems or prioritized over important everyday activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100462
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Gaming disorder
  • High frequency gaming
  • Motivation
  • Protective factors
  • Quality of life


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