FRIDAY, April 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The concept of internet gaming disorder (IGD) and the pathways leading to it are unclear, according to a review published online April 6 in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

Frank W. Paulus, Ph.D., from Saarland University Hospital in Homburg, Germany, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature on IGD to provide an overview focusing on the definitions, symptoms, prevalence, and etiology.

The researchers found that on average, 2 percent of children and adolescents are affected by IGD; the mean prevalences reach 5.5 percent. Definitions are heterogeneous; the proposed definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, provides a good starting point for diagnosing IGD, although there are some disadvantages. Several interacting internal factors, such as deficient self, mood and reward regulation, and problems of decision making, and external factors, including deficient family background and social skills, are required for developing IGD. Specific game-related factors may promote IGD. An integrated model of IGD elucidating the interplay of internal and external factors is suggested.

“So far, the concept of IGD and the pathways leading to it are not entirely clear. In particular, long-term follow-up studies are missing,” the authors write. “IGD should be understood as an endangering disorder with a complex psychosocial background.”

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