Douglas A. Gentile Says Eight Percent Of Gamers Exhibit Pathological Patterns Of Play


Posted April 20, 2009 - By Raymond Padilla

Douglas A. Gentile Says Eight Percent Of Gamers Exhibit Pathological Patterns Of PlayA study based on "a randomly selected sample of 1,178 American youth ages 8 to 18" found that eight percent of the subjects studied "exhibited pathological patterns of play". Titled "Pathological video game use among youth 8 to 18: A national study" by Douglas A. Gentile, the study uses some pretty dubious criteria to highlight video-game addiction among youngsters. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here's an excerpt:

"Skipping household chores to play video games was the disruption most often reported (33% of the youth responded 'yes,' and an additional 21% responded 'sometimes'). At least one fifth of respondents said that they had played to escape from problems (25% responded 'yes'), that they had skipped their homework to play (23%), that video games had high cognitive salience for them (21%), and that they had done poorly on schoolwork or a test because of playing (20%)."

Gentile constantly uses the phrases "pathological gaming" and "pathological gamer", both of which I find terribly amusing. So to use his criteria, I often skipped chores so that I could play baseball with my friends. I suppose I was a pathological baseball player in my youth. I also used books to "escape from problems", which made me a pathological reader. Ultimately, all kinds of youth activities could have been plugged in for gaming and the results would have been the same. Most of my childhood friends used a wide variety of activities to skip chores, escape from the world, and botch tests.

The biggest problem I have with the study is that it paints escapism as a bad thing. It's hard growing up and forming your identity. Sometimes a good book, playing with friends, or sinking into a game offers a nice escape. Certainly some people use those things excessively, but I don't see why escaping from the real world for a little while is bad thing.

What do you think of the study? Do you agree with me that a lot of it is broad and doesn't paint an honest picture? Or do you think Gentile's points are on the mark?

Source via Game Politics

Tags: Videogames
Douglas A. Gentile Says Eight Percent Of Gamers Exhibit Pathological Patterns Of Play


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