Towards a consensus definition of pathological video-gaming: A systematic review of psychometric assessment tools

Daniel L. King, M.C. Haagsma, Paul H. Delfabbro, Michael Gradisar, Mark D. Griffiths

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273 Citations (Scopus)


Pathological video-gaming, or its proposed DSM-V classification of “Internet Use Disorder”, is of increasing interest to scholars and practitioners in allied health disciplines. This systematic review was designed to evaluate the standards in pathological video-gaming instrumentation, according to Cicchetti (1994) and Groth-Marnat's (2009) criteria and guidelines for sound psychometric assessment. A total of 63 quantitative studies, including eighteen instruments and representing 58,415 participants, were evaluated. Results indicated that reviewed instrumentation may be broadly characterized as inconsistent. Strengths of available measures include: (i) short length and ease of scoring, (ii) excellent internal consistency and convergent validity, and (iii) potentially adequate data for development of standardized norms for adolescent populations. However, key limitations included: (a) inconsistent coverage of core addiction indicators, (b) varying cut-off scores to indicate clinical status, (c) a lack of a temporal dimension, (d) untested or inconsistent dimensionality, and (e) inadequate data on predictive validity and inter-rater reliability. An emerging consensus suggests that pathological video-gaming is commonly defined by (1) withdrawal, (2) loss of control, and (3) conflict. It is concluded that a unified approach to assessment of pathological video-gaming is needed. A synthesis of extant research efforts by meta-analysis may be difficult in the context of several divergent approaches to assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-342
JournalClinical psychology review
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-298852
  • IR-89007


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