Correlates of problematic gaming - Is there support for proneness to risky behaviour?
AIM To investigate whether adolescent online gaming time and the additive effect of gaming motives were associated with depressive, musculoskeletal, and psychosomatic symptoms. The hypothesis was that adolescents who engage in online gaming with escape motives and increased online gaming time have higher probability for depressive, musculoskeletal, and psychosomatic symptoms compared to adolescents with other online gaming motives and/or less online gaming time. METHOD An anonymous and voluntary questionnaire was completed during class hours by 7,757 Swedish adolescents aged 13-18 years. The questionnaire included demographic background, gaming habits, and depressive, musculoskeletal, and psychosomatic symptoms. RESULTS It was found that increased online gaming time during weekdays increased the probability of having depressive, musculoskeletal, and psychosomatic symptoms. However, these relations with time spent gaming were further explained by online gaming motives. Weekday online gaming for more than five hours a day, in combination with escape motives, was associated with an increased probability of depressive symptoms (odds ratio (OR) 4.614, 95% CI 3.230-6.590), musculoskeletal symptoms (OR 2.494, 95% CI 1.598-3.892), and psychosomatic symptoms (OR 4.437, 95% CI 2.966-6.637). The probability of ill health decreased when gaming was for fun or had social motives. CONCLUSION Excessive gaming time and escape motives were found to be associated with increased probability of ill health among adolescents. Gaming motives may identify gamers in need of support to reduce unhealthy gaming behaviour as well as identify individuals at risk for ill health.