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Research by Oxford University, carried out in partnership with Cardiff University, and published today in Clinical Psychological Science, has found little evidence to suggest an unhealthy passion for gaming amongst adolescents, often referred to as ‘gaming addiction’, requires clinical intervention by medical professionals.

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Based on data from over 1,000 adolescents and their caregivers, the study suggests those engaged in dysfunctional gaming are likely to have underlying frustrations and wider psychosocial functioning issues outside of games. These issues are likely to lead them to seek contentment by gaming, rather than being negatively impacted by gaming itself.

Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of the study, said: ‘The World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association have called on researchers to investigate the clinical relevance of dysregulated video-gaming among adolescents, as previous studies have failed to examine the wider context of what is going on in these young peoples’ lives.  This is something we seek to address with our new study.  For the first time we apply motivational theory and open science principles to investigate if psychological need satisfactions and frustrations in adolescents’ daily lives are linked to dysregulated – or obsessive – gaming engagement. 

Read more (University of Oxford website)