Online Videogames Use and Anxiety in Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Concetta De Pasquale, Matteo Chiappedi, Federica Sciacca, Valentina Martinelli, Zira Hichy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Videogames use has constantly increased among children and adolescents, with uncertain consequences on their health. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of videogames use and addiction in a sample of Italian children during the COVID-19 pandemic and their association with anxiety symptoms. One hundred and sixty-two children (M/F:78/84; age range: 8-10 years; average age 9.4 ± 0.7 years) completed the Videogame Addiction Scale for Children (VASC), the Test of Anxiety and Depression (TAD) and the Children's Anxiety Meter-State (CAM-S). Demographic variables and data on the access to electronic tools and games preferences were also collected. Overall, 96.3% of the study participants stated to have access to one or more device. They reported a low risk of videogame addiction (VASC score (mean ± SD): 46.7 ± 15.4), a moderate level of trait anxiety (TAD score (mean ± SD): 135 ± 16.8) and a low state anxiety (CAM-S score (mean ± SD): 2.2 ± 2.1). Males reported to spend more time on videogames, to perceive higher self-control and to be more influenced by reinforcement mechanisms; females described higher levels of trait anxiety. In the regression analysis, state anxiety was a predictor of videogame use and addiction (p = 0.01). Further research is needed to confirm these data and to maximize the developmentally positive effects of videogames and preventing the negative consequences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren (Basel, Switzerland)
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 8 2021

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