It’s Not All Fun and Games

Research by Ohayon, Maurice, & Roberts, Laura (2021). Internet gaming disorder and comorbidities among campus-dwelling U.S. university students. Psychiatry Research, 302, 114043.

Written by Robin N. Fatovic ’20 M.S.

Gaming is not always all fun and games! Internet gaming disorder is a growing problem characterized by spending 15 or more hours gaming weekly plus showing five or more symptoms associated with addiction, such as internet use as escape, sleep difficulties, lateness, remorse, time wasted or lying about it.

Stanford Psychology researchers studied these symptoms and other health outcomes by surveying 3,000 U.S. college and graduate students. About 9% spent at least 15 recreational hours on their devices per week and experienced three or four addiction symptoms, and 5% met full criteria for internet gaming disorder.

Students who met full criteria also had more suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, depression, social anxiety and ADHD than those who did not meet full criteria. Internet gaming disorder was also associated with nonrestorative sleep, excessive fatigue and bipolar disorder. They had fewer close friendships and poor overall physical health, too.

Gaming may provide an outlet for fun and relaxation, but do recognize the signs of addiction. Try setting a limit on the hours you play a week. Remember to nourish other areas of your life, such as your health, social life and academics, too!

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