Internet gaming disorder in early adolescence: Associations with parental and adolescent mental health.


Background: Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Currently, associations between IGD in early adolescence and mental health are largely unexplained. In the present study, the relation of IGD with adolescent and parental mental health was investigated for the first time. Methods: We surveyed 1095 family dyads (an adolescent aged 12-14 years and a related parent) with a standardized questionnaire for IGD as well as for adolescent and parental mental health. We conducted linear (dimensional approach) and logistic (categorical approach) regression analyses. Results: Both with dimensional and categorical approaches, we observed statistically significant associations between IGD and male gender, a higher degree of adolescent antisocial behavior, anger control problems, emotional distress, self-esteem problems, hyperactivity/inattention and parental anxiety (linear regression model: corrected R2 = 0.41, logistic regression model: Nagelkerke’s R2 = 0.41). Conclusions: IGD appears to be associated with internalizing and externalizing problems in adolescents. Moreover, the findings of the present study provide first evidence that not only adolescent but also parental mental health is relevant to IGD in early adolescence. Adolescent and parental mental health should be considered in prevention and intervention programs for IGD in adolescence.