A systematic review of problematic video-game use in people with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Francesco Craig, Flaviana Tenuta, Andrea De Giacomo, Antonio Trabacca, Angela Costabile

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In recent years, an increasing number of studies documented potential links between gaming disorders (GD; including “digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to summarize current research about problematic video game (PVG) use in people with ASD and identify specific factors associated with problematic video gaming behavior. Method: We searched for articles indexed in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and EBSCOhost electronic databases; using a combination of expressions including “autism spectrum disorder” OR “autism” OR “ASD” AND “video games” OR “gaming disorder” OR “Internet Gaming Disorder” OR “game addiction”. Results: Twelve articles were included in this systematic review. The majority of them indicate that children, adolescents and adults with ASD may be at greater risk of PVG use than youths without ASD. Findings also suggested that several internal (sex, attention and oppositional behavior problems) and external factors (social aspects, access and time spent playing video, parental rules, and game genre) were significant predictors of problematic video game use in people with ASD. In addition, this review highlights the paucity of the literature on the consequences and individual effects of excessive video gaming in people with ASD. Conclusions: We discuss unanswered questions and future directions and provide recommendations for improving clinicians and parents’ engagement in the prevention and management of problematic video game use in people with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101726
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Autism
  • Gaming disorders
  • Systematic review
  • Video-gaming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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