Psychiatry Investig.  2020 May;17(5):403-411. 10.30773/pi.2019.0173.

The Association between Excessive Internet Gaming Behavior and Immersive Tendency, Mediated by Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms, in Korean Male University Students

  • 1Department of Human Factors Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Psychology, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
  • 3Korea Transportation Safety Authority, Gimcheon, Republic of Korea
  • 4Mental Health Center, Seoul National University Health Care Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 5Department of Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 6JC Research House, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, Eulji University School of Medicine, Eulji University Hospital, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
  • 8National Center for Mental Health, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 9Department of Psychiatry, Dongguk University International Hospital, Institute of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Dongguk University School of Medicine, Goyang, Republic of Korea
  • 10Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 11Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea


Problematic online gaming (POG) and problematic Internet use (PIU) have become a serious public mental health problem, with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) included in “Conditions for further study” section of DSM-5. Although higher immersive tendency is observed in people affected by POG, little is known about the simultaneous effect of immersive tendency and its highly comorbid mental disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to assess the relationship between immersive tendency, ADHD, and IGD.
Cross-sectional interview study was conducted in Seoul, Korea with 51 male undergraduate students; 23 active gamers and 28 controls.
Current ADHD symptoms showed partial mediation effect on the path of immersive tendency on POG and PIU. The mediation model with inattention explained variance in both POG and PIU better than other current ADHD symptom models (R2=69.2 in POG; 69.3 in PIU). Childhood ADHD symptoms models demonstrated mediation effect on both POG and PIU which explained less variance than current ADHD symptom models (R2=53.7 in POG; 52.1 in PIU). Current ADHD symptoms, especially inattention, appear to mediate the effect of immersive tendency on POG/PIU.
Immersive tendencies may entail greater susceptibility to IGD, and comorbidity with ADHD may mediate the effect of immersive tendency on IGD.


Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Immersive tendency, Internet gaming disorder, Problematic Internet use, Problematic online gaming
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