The aims of the present study was to investigate the long-term stability of problematic gaming among adolescents, and whether problematic gaming at wave 1 (W1) were associated with problematic gambling at wave 2 (W2), three years later.
Data from the SALVe-Cohort, including adolescents in Västmanland born in 1997 and 1999, at two waves were analyzed (W1, n = 1868; 1035 girls, W2, n = 1576; 914 girls). Adolescents self-rated the Gaming Addiction Identification Test (GAIT), Problematic Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), and gambling frequencies. Stability of gaming using Gamma correlation, and Spearman's rho was performed. General linear model analysis (GLM), and logistic regression analysis were performed, adjusted for sex, age, and ethnicity using PGSI as dependent variable, and GAIT as independent variable, for investigating associations between problematic gaming and problematic gambling.
Problematic gaming was stable over time, γ = 0.810, P ≤ 0.001, and ρ = 0.555, P ≤ 0.001. Furthermore, problematic gaming at wave 1 increased the probability of having problematic gambling three years later, GLM F = 3.357, η2 = 0.255, P ≤ 0.001, and logistic regression OR = 5.078 (95% CI: 1.388–18.575), P = 0.014. Male sex was associated with higher probability of problematic gambling.
The present study highlights the importance of screening for problematic gambling among problematic gamers in order not to overlook possible coexisting gambling problems. The stability of problematic gaming indicates a need for development and evaluation of treatment for problematic gaming and also for coexisting gambling problems.