Challenges for Game Addiction as a Mental Health Diagnosis

Rune K.L. Nielsen, Espen Aarseth, Arne Poulsen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we outline the proposed PhD project: "Challenges for Game Addiction as a Mental Health Diagnosis". The project
aims to bridge gaps between the perspectives, theories and data of current research trajectories that engage with the concept of game addiction; from psychology, psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience to media and game studies. The project has several proposed
outcomes. Based on a review of the literature, the adequacy of 'game addiction' as a concept is questioned. The concept is further
discussed in a historical perspective of game related pathologies and media/moral panics. The validity of the prevalent instruments
used to assess the prevalence of computer game addiction is examined in a cross-disciplinary context. The argument of the
project is that research on computer game addiction is limited by mono-disciplinary approaches that fail to capture significant
nuances at the cost of validity of results and instruments. The lack of communication between researchers has resulted in qualitative research that deny the existence of computer game addiction and quantitative research that assert the existence and prevalence of the phenomenon. Qualitative research cannot claim to capture as wide a sample as quantitative research and quantitative research cannot claim to capture the deep understanding and nuances of qualitative research. When the two methods produce conflicting results it stands to reason that a dispassionate review and analysis is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games - Liberty of the Seas, United States
Duration: 3 Apr 20147 Apr 2014


ConferenceThe 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games
LocationLiberty of the Seas
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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