Richard J, Temcheff CE, Fletcher E, Lemieux A, Derevensky J, Déry M. (2022). An empirical investigation of the externalizing and internalizing pathways to disordered gaming behavior: A longitudinal study across childhood and adolescence. Computers in Human Behavior. 128.
Background : Problematic engagement in video gaming is a prevalent concern among youth with an increasing number of adolescents reporting symptoms of gaming disorder. There is a need for longitudinal research evaluating factors in childhood that increase the risk of endorsing symptoms of gaming disorder in adolescence. Method : Children (N = 744, 53.2% boys, Mage = 8.3, SD = 0.93 years old), were followed over five years, with questionnaires for internalizing and externalizing problems being completed yearly (Time 1 to Time 5), and disordered gaming being measured at Time 6. Results : Parallel process growth models were utilized to establish trajectories for externalizing and internalizing problems over time. Findings from regression analyses indicated that initial levels of both internalizing and externalizing problems significantly predicted disordered gaming symptoms six years later. Additionally, the development of internalizing problems over time was significant in predicting disordered gaming symptoms. The interaction effects for intercept and slope of internalizing and externalizing problems were non-significant and no differences based on sex were identified. Conclusions : Children with internalizing and/or externalizing problems appear to be at a greater risk of developing symptoms of disordered gaming in adolescence. A pattern of increasing internalizing problems from childhood to adolescence seems to further exacerbate this risk.