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Internet Game Addiction, Depression, and Escape From Negative Emotions in Adulthood: A Nationwide Community Sample of Korea

Kim, Dong Jun BS*†; Kim, Kiwon MD*; Lee, Hae-Woo MD, PhD; Hong, Jin-Pyo MD, PhD*; Cho, Maeng Je MD, PhD§; Fava, Maurizio MD; Mischoulon, David MD, PhD; Heo, Jung-Yoon MD*; Jeon, Hong Jin MD, PhD*∥¶

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2017 - Volume 205 - Issue 7 - p 568–573
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000698
Original Articles

The aim of this study was to investigate the association between adult Internet game addiction (IGA) and mental disorders. A total of 1401 adults aged between 18 and 74 years participated in this study. The IGA group had significantly younger patients, and it showed a higher proportion of unmarried and unemployed adults, and higher rates of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt than the non-IGA group. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that IGA was significantly associated with major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and depressive disorders adjusting for all variables. The Patient Health Questionnaire–9 score was significantly higher in the IGA group than in the non-IGA group for both young adults and middle groups. “Escape from negative emotions like nervousness, sadness, and anger” was the only significant item associated with depression among symptoms of IGA. This study suggests that adults with IGA and depression may use Internet games to escape from negative emotions.

*Department of Psychiatry, Depression Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine; †Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute (SAIHST), Sungkyunkwan University; ‡Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Medical Center; §Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; ∥Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and ¶Department of Health Sciences & Technology, Department of Medical Device Management and Research, and Department of Clinical Research Design & Evaluation, and SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.

Send reprint requests to Hong Jin Jeon, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Depression Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 81 Irwon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-710, Korea. E-mail:

All authors have agreed to this submission.

The material is original research, has not been previously published and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere while under consideration.

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