Laura Orsolini, Giulio Longo, Silvia Bellagamba, Takahiro A. Kato, Umberto Volpe

Could the Construct of Modern-Type Depression Predict Internet Gaming Disorder in Italian Video Gamers? A Case–Control Study

  • General Neuroscience

A new postmodern depression type, named “Modern-Type Depression” (MTD), is emerging in Western countries. MTD is often underdiagnosed, mainly due to potentially higher comorbidity with technology-based addictions, including Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). However, the definition of the relationship between MTD and IGD is still controversial, as few data have been published thus far. In particular, there are no data specifically investigating the prevalence of MTD within Italian young subjects with IGD, as well as their mutual association. Hence, within the SWATCH (Social Withdrawal and TeCno-mediated mental Health issues) project, our study aimed to identify the prevalence of MTD in a sample of Italian young adults who play video games by providing a clinical characterization of MTD within a group of IGD individuals (IGD+) versus a group without IGD (IGD−) who play video games. Our cross-sectional case–control study recruited a sample of 543 Italian young video-gaming players (aged 18–35) from the larger SWATCH database, stratified as IGD+ versus IGD−. Subjects were administered the 22-item Tarumi’s Modern-Type Depression Trait Scale (TACS-22), the Motives for Online Gaming Questionnaire (MOGQ), and the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale-Short Form (IGDS9-SF). Around 21.7% of the total sample was represented by MTD individuals, while within the IGD sample, around 34% of subjects had MTD. Within the MTD group, significantly higher scores at IGDS-9SF (p < 0.001), MOGQ “Escape from reality” (p < 0.001), “Fantasy” (p < 0.001), and MOGQ total score (p = 0.003) were found compared to MTD−. According to the multivariate regression model, controlled for sex and age, higher scores in the TACS-22 were positively predicted by the total score of IGDS9-SF (p = 0.003), the MOGQ “Escape from Reality” subscale (p = 0.014), and MOGQ “Fantasy” (p = 0.011), and negatively predicted by the MOGQ “Competition” subscale (p = 0.035) [F (4538) = 17.265; p < 0.001]. Our findings suggested that MTD displays a strong association with IGD. Video-gaming players who do not have IGD appear to be less prone to MTD; this suggests that further studies could be carried out to specifically investigate whether pathological use of video games could also be determined by the presence of MTD.

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