Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alan King


Psychological research about the consequences of playing video games has grown exponentially, correlating to the exponential growth of the video game industry. In the past decade, a major impetus has related to the concept of video game addiction, pathological gaming, or Internet Gaming Disorder. While the presence of this problem is widely accepted and there is growing knowledge about the factors contributing to its development and perpetuation, there is minimal research speaking to intervention. The primary purpose of the present study was to identify a potential pathway to educate members of the gaming community about pathological gaming, with the hope that some of these educated members would recognize their own struggles and seek help. Secondary to that purpose was the intention of identifying factors correlating with awareness of pathological gaming problems and influencing help-seeking behavior among pathological gamers. To pursue these goals, an online survey was made available to avid gamers (N=881) through The survey contained questions about demographic factors, video game play habits and history, pathological gaming, and mental health factors (anxiety, depression, stress, ADHD). Participants completed the survey, then were exposed to a three minute intervention period (wait period, neutral support group, pathological gaming support group, diagnostic awareness lecture) before being asked to again complete the pathological gaming questionnaire. Participants were invited to a one-month follow up to assess changes in pathological gaming awareness and any efforts to engage in help-seeking behavior. Results did not find significant main effects across intervention conditions for awareness of pathological gaming or pursuit of help-seeking behavior. However, nearly 20% of those participating in the one month follow up reported engaging in some form of help-seeking behavior. Tendencies to engage in help seeking behavior were best predicted by self-reported level of pathological gaming and inattentiveness. Thus, there is considerable benefit to increase awareness of pathological gaming and it is important to recognize that ADHD may be a critically impactful factor for increasing the risk of developing pathological gaming.