Is Gaming a Problem: A Mixed Methods Approach Towards Creating a Taxonomy of Gaming Outcomes

  • Jodie Raybould

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a potential disorder in 2013. The condition has been widely studied by researchers; however, there are many who criticise and debate the validity of this diagnosis and its symptom criteria.

This thesis began by taking a comparative approach to the debate, where IGD was compared against established addiction disorders to find commonalities that may justify its inclusion under the umbrella of addiction. Some similarities were found between IGD, gambling, and substance use disorders. The variables were all related to cognitive instability, an aspect of impulsivity, and a two-factor model of impulsivity was found that was similar to factor models previously reported for substance use and gambling. It was concluded that while commonalities do exist, the factor predicting maladaptive gaming was opposite to the predictor of gambling and substance use. This suggested a significant difference, prompting the question, how else can we establish whether gaming might be disordered?

To address this question the thesis took a new approach following the work of Loftus and Loftus. They wrote that a behaviour that is not good for the individual may be disordered; in other words, the harmful outcomes of behaviour outweigh the benefits. The key aim of this thesis was therefore to create a comprehensive list of potential outcomes from gaming. The taxonomy was developed and tested, and all but one of the listed items was endorsed by at least one participant. Over ¼ of the sample reported more harms than benefits, with the most common being lost time, irritability, and sleep changes. This work could support future research and practical developments in measures and treatments of IGD. However, further development of the taxonomy, such as weighted items, would be beneficial.
Date of AwardJun 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRichard Tunney (Supervisor) & Michael Larkin (Supervisor)


  • Internet Gaming Disorder
  • Addiction
  • Taxonomy
  • Harms
  • Benefits

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