Representative international studies about computer game addiction show a prevalence range from 1 to 3%. However highly specialized user groups have never been focus of research in Europe so far.
The ESL (Electronic Sports League) is the biggest European computer gaming community. It accommodates 3.157.410 registered and 1.416.750 active users. Combined sociological and psychological paradigms were implemented to explore this specific population with an interdisciplinary approach.
The user group of mainly 12–28 year old regular gamers will be divided into three specific groups based on the AICA-S (assessment of internet and computer game addiction) and its classification into normal, problematic and addictive use. Additionally we combined this information with the ERI model (effort-reward-imbalance model) as well as perceived subjective health in combination with the level of addiction and social status.
A non-clinical quantitative survey will be conducted to gather data in this highly specific user group. Used instruments are: AICA-S, SF36 (physical functioning, vitality, bodily pain, mental & general health perceptions, physical-, emotional- & social role functioning), PHQ (symptom severity), SES (socioeconomic status), ERI (effort-reward-imbalance & social crisis) and GLMN (violence legitimating male norms & aggression).
Addictive users show more physical illness and less psychological well-being than regular users. The results can help to design possible prevention programs and lead to a better understanding of internet addiction and its development.