An Investigation Into the Relation Between Problems From Video Gaming and Frequency of Cannabis Use

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Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is included in the DSM-5 as a condition warranting more clinical research. Problematic gaming may increase when substance use is present (e.g. cigarette smoking, alcohol use; Raiff et al., 2012; Wartberg & Kammerl, 2020). However, little is known about the relation between cannabis use (CU) and IGD. Thus, the current study hypothesized that individuals engaging in increased CU will exhibit higher rates of IGD. Participants (N=114) were recruited from a rural southeastern university (M age=20.27, SD=4.15). Frequency of CU was measured as past month days with use, IGD was measured by the Video Game Dependency Scale (VGDS; Rehbein et al., 2010). Eleven percent of the sample met criteria for probable IGD. The average frequency of past month CU was 7.26 days (SD=10.88). An independent samples t-test compared frequency of past-month CU among individuals with or without probable IGD. Individuals with probable IGD had decreased CU (M =2.25, SD=5.72). Those without probable IGD had increased CU (M=7.70, SD=2.25), t(107)=2.72, p=.012, d= 0.246. Our results are contrary to previous study findings on the co-occurrence of IGD and substance use. Frequent video gaming may act as a protective factor against increased frequency of CU. Future research should expand on this understudied area and further investigate whether IGD is in fact a protective factor or if the relation found here is accounted for by another unmeasurable variable.


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