A Conceptual Review of Research on the Pathological Use of Computers, Video Games, and the Internet

Boon Wee Timothy Sim, Douglas A. Gentile, Francesco Bricolo, Giovanni Serpelloni, Farah Gulamoydeen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Preliminary research studies suggest that some people who use computer, video games, and the Internet heavily develop dysfunctional symptoms, often referred to in the popular press as an "addiction." Although several studies have measured various facets of this issue, there has been no common framework within which to view these studies. This paper aims to provide a conceptual framework of "impulse control disorders" and describe what is known currently based on a review of the international literature, and highlight what remains to be studied. We suggest the term "Pathological Technology Use" (PTU) rather than "internet addiction", since there is robust construct validity (via convergent validity and comorbidity) for pathological computer, video game and Internet use, regardless of how individual researchers defined or measured it. Questions concerning diagnostic criteria are raised, and a common set of diagnostic criteria is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-769
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Addiction
  • Computer
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Internet
  • Pathological
  • Technology
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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