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According to a new study by Oxford University, obsession with gaming should not be classified as a clinical disorder.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified that obsession in gaming is a mental health disorder, adding it to its International Classification of Diseases back in May.
The new study titled ‘Investigating the Motivational and Psychosocial Dynamics of Dysregulated Gaming’ suggests that “those engaged in dysfunctional gaming are likely to have underlying frustrations and wider psychosocial functioning issues outside of games”, and that gaming plays a role as a reliever from the external issues in some cases.
The study collected and analyzed data from 1,000 adolescents and an equal number of caregivers in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of the study, stated:
“This is something we seek to address with our new study. For the first time we apply motivational theory and open science principles to investigate if psychological need satisfactions and frustrations in adolescents’ daily lives are linked to dysregulated – or obsessive – gaming engagement.”
“Our findings provided no evidence suggesting an unhealthy relationship with gaming accounts for substantial emotional, peer and behavioural problems. Instead, variations in gaming experience are much more likely to be linked to whether adolescents’ basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and social belonging are being met and if they are already experiencing wider functioning issues. In light of our findings we do not believe sufficient evidence exists to warrant thinking about gaming as a clinical disorder in its own right.”
Video game firms criticized the classification of gaming disorder as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization and stated that the move was not based on sufficiently robust evidence and created a risk of misdiagnosis for patients.