Background: Extensive gaming and the consequences thereof is frequently reported from child and adolescent psychiatry and school health care. The behavior is associated with compulsion, psychiatric and physical symptoms, impaired cognitive development and poorer school performance. This phenomenon has been described as an emergent health issue for men and little is known about its potential gender-specific characteristics. The aim of this study was to explore extensive gaming among male and female adolescents and to investigate whether the frequency of often feeling low, often feeling anxious, self-reported ADHD, self-reported ASD, being satisfied with one’s own general health, poor sleep, loneliness, and having tried smoking, alcohol, and/or other substances differed among those with and without extensive gaming.
Design and Methods: This study was based on data collected through a public health survey distributed in 2016 to pupils in 9th grade of primary school and in second grade of secondary school, including a total of 13498 participants. The association between extensive gaming and different factors was estimated among male and female respondents separately.
Results: Roughly 30% of the male and 5% of the female respondents were categorized as extensive gamers. Extensive gaming was associated with a higher prevalence of poor sleep and a lower prevalence of being satisfied with one’s own health among boys and (to a higher degree) among girls.
Conclusions: Altogether, our results contribute to the impression that extensive gaming is more heavily related to subjective health complaints among female than male adolescents.
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