Is there a link between videogame addiction and school inadaptation?

A team of researchers from the departments of Medicine and Education Sciences of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Castellón (Spain) has analysed the relation between the addiction to video games and school inadaptation in a group of teenagers in the province. The study has been carried out under the guidance of Medicine professor Gonzalo Haro, principle researcher of the TXP and psychiatry group of the Mental Health department of the Provincial Hospital Consortium of Castellón, and Psychology doctor, co-director of the project and Education Sciences professor Mabel Marí. The results have been presented at the III International Congress of Dual Disorders, which has brought international experts on the relation between addiction and mental disorders together in Madrid.

As the CEU UCH professors explain, it is believed that between 9 and 23% of Spanish teenagers use video games every day. A use that becomes problematic when it generates psychological dependence, in other words, when it leads to problem evasion behaviours, mood swings, loss of self-control or attention disorders. Studies have already been conducted on the link between this addiction to video games and anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, as well as with bad academic results.

“Focusing on this last school aspect – highlights professor Gonzalo Haro – we have carried out, with the department of Education Sciences of the CEU UCH, a study on a total 64 teenagers aged 14 to 17 from a high school of Castellón. The objective was to assess the psychopathological and adaptational dimensions of their behaviour in relation to their degree of video game usage, using several internationally-validated tests.”

Negative attitude towards school and teachers

As many as 11.9% of the Castellón students who took part in this study showed a problematic use of video games. And this same group had the most negative attitude towards school and teachers. Also, a higher degree of school inadaptation compared to the remaining 88.1%, who did not have issues with the use of video games. “In our sample, these situations of negative attitudes and bad school adaptation have been more relevant than depression, anxiety or low self-esteem, registered in other studies on teenagers addicted to video games,” says professor Mabel Marí.

As Marí adds, “the results we obtained show the need to have a better understanding of the psychological variables related to the problematic use of video games, as a possible source of dual disorders or mental disorders derived from the addiction. This will undoubtedly be the best way to be able to develop programs for the prevention of video game abuse and its associated problems.”

Transversal team

The research team that has just revealed these results at the International Congress of Dual Disorders, was comprised of the students of the Education degree, Elisa Fernández, Alicia Guinot, Fabiola López Romero, Elena Machi and María Esteve; doctor Ana Benito, clinical psychiatrist at the Mental Health unit of Torrent; and researcher for the TXP group Francisca Castellano, all under the guidance of CEU UCH professors Gonzalo Haro and Mabel Marí. The study has been co-funded by the CEU UCH and the Research Foundation of the Provincial Hospital of Castellón.

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