Video game playing, dependency and delinquency: A question of methodology?

Abstract

A methodological challenge to Fisher's (1992) study of adolescent fruit machine gamblers was carried out with young video game players. Fisher (1992) described an association between frequency fruit machine playing, dependency and delinquency. Some methodological concerns were considered that might weaken this conclusion, in particular the use of heterogeneous measures that fail to distinguish between variables. As such measures feature elsewhere in contemporary gambling research it was deemed important to examine some of the potential problems that may arise. 183 11–16 year old video game players (152 males; 31 females) were recruited from four amusement arcades to answer a computerised questionnaire. Using an analysis similar to Fisher (1992) her results for adolescent fruit machine use were "confirmed". However a separation of key variables and the use of a multiple regression analysis showed that of money spent, time spent and impaired choice, only the first was a significant predictor of delinquency. It is suggested that delinquents have higher disposable incomes to spend on their leisure activities. Video game playing and possibly fruit machine gambling appear to be independently associated with delinquency; in video game playing this association is not mediated by dependency. It was argued that a similar methodology should be used in the UK to re-examine Fisher's (1992) conclusions for children who use gaming machines.

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