Here is CNN’s coverage: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/17/gaming.depression/index.html?iref=allsearch
This study came from Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University, someone with whom I’ve corresponded in the past about a “snapshot” study on American children. The idea of a “snapshot” is based on a survey of children at just one point, using video game addiction screening questions whose responses are interpreted at any given time rather than following or retesting. In this new survey, Dr. Gentile appears to have followed video gaming for a period of 2 years or more. I have not yet read the study.
Some questions I hope to answer from this new study include how Dr. Gentile detected comorbidity with depression and lower grades, how he handled defining “pathological”, and some of the statistical figures involved as well.
I have maintained a twofold stance on the idea of pathological gaming: first, that people can be addicted to anything; and second, that online gaming, just like anything else, has some unique traits that should be considered in screening, diagnosis, and treatment. This study comes on the heals of a tragic recent report about a mother playing a facebook game while her young child drowned to death. Facebook games are designed a lot like MMORPG‘s with a similar cyclical achievement structure and immediacy in social feedback among friends who play, and similar events have happened in the US, Korea and China among other nations.
What I will not buy into is the hysteria that seems often to result from correlation statistics- as Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke noted, there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.”