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article imageStudy suggests addictive gaming more common with autism and ADHD

By Leigh Goessl     Aug 1, 2013 in Entertainment
A new study published this week suggests boys with an autism spectrum disorder are more likely to have an increased risk of a gaming addiction. Researchers indicate more study is needed.
Researchers from the University of Missouri's Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders suggest children with autism or ADHD are at a higher risk for developing a gaming addiction.
According to researchers, the objective of the study was "to examine video game use in boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with those with ADHD or typical development (TD) and to examine how specific symptoms and game features relate to problematic video game use across groups."
The study surveyed 141 boys between the ages of 8 and 18 years old and their parents. Of the group, 56 boys had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 44 had ADHD and the remaining 41 boys were listed as TD.
Findings showed boys with ASD spent 2.1 hours per day playing video games, boys with ADHD played 1.7 hours a day and the TD group played for about 1.2 hours a day.
Researchers said that in addition to the number of hours played per day, inattentive symptoms were also found to be a primary factor. Additionally, findings suggested a preference for role-playing games may also increase the risk factors for addition.
"Among people with autism, the score on problematic video game behavior was driven by inattention and role-playing video games and not hyperactivity," said Christopher Engelhardt, one of the study's authors, in an interview with Reuters.
Kids with ASD and ADHD were also more likely to have a game console in their bedrooms, said researchers.
According to media reports, it has been acknowledged this is a small sample and there may be more factors involved. It is not clear if it is the video games causing the problem or the ASD or ADHD is drawing the boys to the video games.
"Longitudinal studies are needed to extend this research and to examine the long-term effects of screen-based media use in children with [autism spectrum disorder]," the researchers wrote.
The study, Video Game Use in Boys With Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, or Typical Development was published online in the journal Pediatrics on July 29, 2013
Previous studies have examined the impact of role-playing games and addiction.
This study comes at a time when Congress is looking at the 'Violent Content Research Act'. The Hill notes as part of this initiative, the National Academy of Sciences would be looking at whether video games, and the interactive nature of them, affects children.
More about autism spectrum disorders, Autism, Adhd, Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, Video games
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