Scientific Papers

The epidemiology and effects of video game addiction: A systematic review and meta-analysis

With the increasing popularity and accessibility of video games, the public concern about their effects – positive and negative – has also increased. In this regard, this systematic review sought to identify and thematically analyze recent studies (in the last five years) and report on video games’ epidemiological characteristics and outcomes. A systematic database search was done on ScienceDirect, APA PsycINFO, Emerald, and Scopus databases for articles published from January 1, 2017, to April 1, 2022. The Meta XL software – an add-in for Microsoft Excel – was used to calculate the pooled prevalence level of video game addiction. The database search yielded a total of 693 non-duplicate articles. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 27 articles were selected to be included in the systematic review. Along with this, 12 articles were considered for the final meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence level of gaming addiction was 5.0 % (95 % CI, 2.1–8.8 %). The I2 value was 99.297 with a p-value of 0.000. The factors that accompanied addictive video gaming were psychological, social, and personal. An addictive gaming behavior was characterized by spending an above-average time on gaming, doing most of the gaming online, and gaming activities interfering with sleep patterns. Some predictors of addictive gaming were emotional dependence, social detachment, increased gaming time, preference for playing online than offline, and increased emotional and psychological stress. Engaging in addictive gaming led to adverse outcomes such as lower academic scores, depression, and anxiety, as well as decreased self-esteem, life satisfaction, and social support. From the collected findings it could be concluded that extreme playing of video games can be classified as addictive. Following the identification of risk factors, appropriate corrective or interventional measures should be developed and applied coherently to newer statistical data.

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