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Pathological video game use among young Swiss men: the use of monothetic and polythetic formats to distinguish between pathological, excessive and normal gaming
Journal of Addictive Behaviors, Therapy & Rehabilitation
There is no agreement about the distinction between pathological, excessive and normal gaming. The present study compared two classifications for defining pathological gaming: the polythetic format (gamers who met at least half of the criteria) and monothetic format (gamers who met all criteria). Associations with mental, health and social issues were examined to assess differences between subgroups of gamers. A representative sample of 5,663 young Swiss men filled in a questionnaire as part of the ongoing Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF). Game use was assessed with the Game Addiction Scale. Mental, social and physical factors (depression, anxiety, aggressiveness, physical and mental health, social and health consequences), gambling and substance use (illicit drug use, alcohol dependence and problematic cannabis use) were also assessed. The results indicated that monothetic gamers shared problems with polythetic gamers, but were even more inclined to mental health issues (depression, anxiety, and aggressiveness) and were more vulnerable to other dependencies like substance use, alcohol dependence or gambling. A second analysis using Latent Class Analysis confirmed the distinction between monothetic and polythetic gamers. These findings support the use of a monothetic format to diagnose pathological gaming and to differentiate it from excessive gaming.
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