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Examining the link between ADHD and internet gaming disorder

Some of the more severe attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms noted were depression/withdrawal, problems with socialization.

A study found that youth with both attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and internet gaming disorder experienced more severe ADHD symptomatology than youth with ADHD who did not have internet gaming disorder.

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between ADHD and internet gaming disorder, a new category that was introduced in DSM-5 under “Emerging Measures and Models.” To this end, the investigators recruited 108 participants who had been diagnosed with ADHD (mean age 11.7 ± 2.6 years, 96 males) and 147 normal controls (mean age 13.9 ± 3.0 years, 114 males). All participants completed the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale-Short Form (IGDS9-SF) and the Internet Addiction Test (IAT); the participants with ADHD were assessed for clinical severity using the Clinical Global Impression-Severity Score (CGI-S) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Fourth Edition (WISC-IV). Parents of the participants with ADHD also completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Conners’ Parents Rating Scale—Revised: Short Form (CPRS-R:S). Finally, participants aged 11 to 18 completed the Use, Abuse, Dependence to Internet (UADI) to give the investigators a qualitative assessment of internet addiction.1

The results showed that the participants with both ADHD and internet gaming disorder experienced greater impairment and severity of ADHD symptoms, namely higher prevalence of internalizing symptoms, such as problems with socialization and depression/withdrawal, and higher prevalence of evasion and addiction dimensions. The results also supported previous hypotheses suggesting that patients with ADHD have a higher risk of developing internet gaming disorder, as these participants’ IAT and IGDS9-SF scores were at a more than 2-fold higher rate above the cutoff and a more than 4-fold higher score above the cutoff, respectively.1

The investigators concluded, “our findings may be helpful for clinicians managing ADHD patients, providing suggestions for diagnostic assessment, the ascertainment of patients at higher risk, and finally, the definition of different phenotypes within the broad category of [internet gaming disorder], with different therapeutic needs, useful for precision medicine.”1

This article was originally published by sister publication Psychiatric Times.


1. Berloffa S, Salvati A, D'Acunto G, et al. Internet gaming disorder in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorderChildren (Basel). 2022;9(3):428.