UK academic unconvinced by WHO gaming disorder inclusion

In response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) inclusion of "gaming disorder" in the draft for the next edition of its diagnosis manual, some academics remain unconvinced.

Speaking to The Guardian a senior lecturer in psychology at Cardiff University, Dr Netta Weinstein, has claimed that academics aren’t yet informed enough. "I just feel like we don’t know enough yet," says Weinstein. "And we feel we know a lot."

Gaming disorder, in the draft, is characterised by an impaired control of the time spent playing video games, and the prioritisation of gaming above other activities in a way has a negative impact on employment, education and interpersonal relationships, among other things.

The WHO paper writes: “These features clearly have their parallels with substance disorders and recognised behavioural addictions, such as gambling disorder.”

“In our research,” Weinstein says, “we found very small correlations, if at all, of symptomology with broader life wellbeing. So we actually didn’t find, for example, that symptoms correlated with health directly.”

“Why do so many people play and so few get addicted? What does it mean about the nature of games and their addictive qualities? Gambling is in itself an activity that sort of pulls for that compulsiveness. Once we say games are also an activity that pulls for that compulsiveness, the question is why aren’t more people then getting pulled into it?”

The Guardian piece adds that Weinstein’s research has found disordered gaming to be nearly half as common as gambling disorder. UK gaming trade body Ukie has also previously expressed doubt over the research shown.

Read the Guardian’s piece for more information, including discussion with Jo Twist and representatives from the WHO’s researching body on the gaming disorder. 

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