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Episode 248 - Stephanie Diez: Internet Gaming Disorder Among Youth: Research, Policy, and Practice Considerations

Monday, September 24, 2018, 8:19:26 AM

Image of Stephanie Diez, MSW, MCAP

In this episode, our guest Stephanie Diez discusses the relationship between Internet gaming disorder and other addictive behaviors, and how Internet gaming is categorized within the DSM-5. National and international social policy initiatives designed to address this public health issue are described, and resources and suggestions on how social workers can more effectively identify and address this disorder are provided.

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Average Rating: 2stars  a gamer-affirmative perspective, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

By Mike Langlois :

As a clinician who has worked with children, adolescents, & adults who game I found the podcast concerning for several reasons that I would like other clinicians to keep in mind:

1. The term internet gaming disorder has not been adopted by the APA for DSM V. It was listed in the appendix as a condition warranting more clinical research & experience before it can be determined to be useful as a formal diagnosis. In earlier editions of DSM, some of those proposed went on to become diagnosis, & others were dropped altogether.

2. Diagnoses are often constructed on the bedrock of cultural bias, especially those with behavioral presentations. In the 2nd edition of the DSM, homosexuality was listed as a paraphilia disorder. In DSM 3 it was reclassified as "ego-dystonic homosexuality," a bizarre concept in light of how dystonic homophobic & heterosexist culture is toward homosexuality. It was finally removed as a classification in its own right in DSM III-R

3. The research comes predominantly from one journal & a limited number of peer reviewed articles. In the past 5 years, only 1,214 articles were published, & 16% of them came from just one journal. Contrast schizophrenia & you will find a research cohort of nearly 94,000 articles.

Though the speaker clearly wants to help youth, & should be appreciated for that, her review of the research should be taken with many grains of salt. Her story of informally polling friends about their game use is neither rigorous nor vaild, any more than if she had stated "I noticed many of my gay friends wore green on Thursdays," so I started to research the role of green in causing homosexuality."

I use the LGBT analogies deliberately: Many colleagues will remember a time when LGBT identities were framed as mental health pathologies that shamed & hurt untold numbers of LGBT people. I fear we will look back on how we treated gamers with a similar sense of sadness & remorse if this line of pathologizing them continues.


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