The COVID-19 pandemic led to government measures enforcing isolation in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. Consequently, online activities, including gaming, increased during this challenging period. Thus, it was possible that problematic gaming (PG) patterns also increased. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we estimated the prevalence of PG during the COVID-19 pandemic and examined differences among subpopulations. The evaluation of 38 studies revealed that the overall prevalence of PG during the COVID-19 pandemic was 3.6%. Furthermore, higher PG scores were found in undergraduate and gamer subpopulations, as well as in studies using the Gaming Addiction Scale. Finally, meta-regression analyses suggest that stricter government measures, as identified by the Government Stringency Index, may have contributed to a lower prevalence of PG behaviors. A potential explanation of this finding is that containment measures had a protective function with respect to emotional distress, and thus towards PG; alternatively, it could be that current measures for PG become less precise if an individual’s functioning is already impaired due to other reasons, such as COVID-19 restrictions. Further theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Problematic Gaming during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression

Schimmenti, Adriano
Supervision
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led to government measures enforcing isolation in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. Consequently, online activities, including gaming, increased during this challenging period. Thus, it was possible that problematic gaming (PG) patterns also increased. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we estimated the prevalence of PG during the COVID-19 pandemic and examined differences among subpopulations. The evaluation of 38 studies revealed that the overall prevalence of PG during the COVID-19 pandemic was 3.6%. Furthermore, higher PG scores were found in undergraduate and gamer subpopulations, as well as in studies using the Gaming Addiction Scale. Finally, meta-regression analyses suggest that stricter government measures, as identified by the Government Stringency Index, may have contributed to a lower prevalence of PG behaviors. A potential explanation of this finding is that containment measures had a protective function with respect to emotional distress, and thus towards PG; alternatively, it could be that current measures for PG become less precise if an individual’s functioning is already impaired due to other reasons, such as COVID-19 restrictions. Further theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/163465
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