Differentiating computer-related addictions and high engagement

Charlton, John P. and Danforth, Ian D. W. (2004) Differentiating computer-related addictions and high engagement. In: Morgan, K., Brebbia, C. A. , Sanchez, J. and Voiskounsky, A., (eds.) Human perspectives in the internet society: culture, psychology and gender. WIT Press, Southampton. ISBN 1853127264

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This paper discusses the difference between computing-related addictions and high engagement in computing activities. The results of two studies are reviewed, one involving factor analysis of paper questionnaire items concerning computing in general, and one involving web-based questionnaire items concerning a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Across both data sets, it is shown that items tapping euphoria, cognitive salience and tolerance appear to indicate high engagement (a high degree of non-pathological involvement) rather than addiction. It is therefore suggested that these criteria, which have been used to classify pathological gambling behaviours, should not be adapted for use in classifying pathological computing behaviours, as has sometimes been done. It is argued that, while thoughts and behaviours surrounding computing may occupy a large amount of the time of people who are highly engaged with a computing activity, this cannot be considered pathological in the absence of deleterious effects on their lives. It is shown that including these types of criteria in schemes to classify people as addicted can lead to over-estimates in the number of people who are addicted to any particular computing activity. On the other hand, it is argued that people whose behaviours lead to interpersonal conflict, who experience withdrawal symptoms when not performing an activity, whose attempts to curtail their behaviour end in relapse and reinstatement, and whose behaviours result in self-neglect can be considered to be addicted to a computing activity.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of the chapter published in Human perspectives in the internet society : culture, psychology and gender, edited by K. Morgan, C.A. Brebbia, J. Sanchez and A. Voiskounsky. Southampton : WIT Press, 2004.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Computer games, computer addiction, computer dependence, impulse control disorders, computer attitudes, Internet, taxonomies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:51
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2014 16:57
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/339

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