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A new Oxford University study suggests that playing internet games is not as addictive as gambling. It is the first research that has tried to measure the scale of gaming addiction in the general population using symptoms of ‘internet gaming disorder’ as defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

What percentage of people who play video games are 'addicted'? Iryna Tiumentseva

Image: www.shutterstock.com 

Researchers from the University’s Oxford Internet Institute asked nationally representative samples of men and women in four countries how they felt after gaming using the APA checklist of health symptoms. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, investigates concerns voiced recently by the APA about a lack of good quality research into the effects of playing internet games.

Researchers from the University of Oxford surveyed 19,000 men and women from the UK, the United States, Canada and Germany. Over half of the sample said they had played internet games recently. Of these, between 2% and 3% reported they had experienced five or more of the symptoms on the list, with between 1% and 0.5% saying they also had feelings of ‘significant distress’ in being unable to curb their play. These rates are less than half those reported recently for gambling by the British Gambling Prevalence Survey. In that survey, 2.6% of those aged 18-24 and 1% of adults in the general population said they had experienced symptoms linked by the researchers with a gambling disorder.

Read more on the University website (opens new window)