Abstract: “Behavioral addictions” share biological mechanisms with substance dependence, and “drug interactions” have been observed between certain substances and self-reinforcing behaviors. This study examines correlates of patterns of and motivations for playing video games while using or feeling the effects of a substance (concurrent use). Data were drawn from a nationally-representative survey of adult Americans who “regularly” or “occasionally” played video games and had played for at least one hour in the past seven days (n = 3,380). Only recent concurrent users’ data were included in analyses (n = 1,196). Independent variables included demographics, substance use frequency and problems, game genre of concurrent use (identified by looking titles up in an industry database), and general game playing variables including problem video game play (PVP), consumer involvement, enjoyment, duration, and frequency of play. Exploratory factor analysis identified the following dimensions underlying patterns of and motivations for concurrent use: pass time or regulate negative emotion, enhance an already enjoyable or positive experience, and use of video games and substances to remediate each other’s undesirable effects. Multivariate regression analyses indicated PVP and hours/day of video game play were associated with most patterns/motivations, as were caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and painkiller use problems. This suggests that concurrent use with some regular situational pattern or effect-seeking motivation is part of the addictive process underlying both PVP and substance dependence. Various demographic, game playing, game genre of concurrent use, and substance use variables were associated with specific motivations/patterns, indicating that all are important in understanding concurrent use.
Keywords: video games; caffeine; tobacco; alcohol; marijuana; addiction; dependence
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Ream, G.L.; Elliott, L.C.; Dunlap, E. Patterns of and Motivations for Concurrent Use of Video Games and Substances. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 3999-4012.
Ream GL, Elliott LC, Dunlap E. Patterns of and Motivations for Concurrent Use of Video Games and Substances. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(10):3999-4012.
Ream, Geoffrey L.; Elliott, Luther C.; Dunlap, Eloise. 2011. "Patterns of and Motivations for Concurrent Use of Video Games and Substances." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 10: 3999-4012.