A comparison of ‘psychosocially problematic gaming’ among middle and high school students in China and South Korea

Jinhai Cui, Changho Lee, Trent Bax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This is the first study to compare the prevalence and predictors of problematic online gaming among middle and high school students in China and South Korea. Specifically, this study seeks to cross-culturally compare the impact gaming time, game genre, leisure environment, parental attachment, parental mediation and relationships with significant others have on ’psychosocially problematic gaming’ (PPG). In total, 3,109 students residing in five major cities in China and South Korea were sampled. Overall, more than twice as many Chinese respondents (30.4% vs. 11.4%) were found to be psychosocially problematic gamers (PPGers). In both countries, more males than females are PPGers. Few differences were found regarding preferences for game genre. Students in both China and Korea liked MMORPG, Sports/Racing, and Shooting games. In both countries, game playing time and game use after midnight were found to be important predictors of psychosocially problematic gaming. With regard to game genres, MMORPG games for South Korean respondents and Action games for Chinese respondents increased the likelihood of psychosocially problematic gaming. However, the leisure environment had little effect. As expected, parental attachment and mediation affected psychosocially problematic gaming among Chinese students but, surprisingly, not among South Korean students. Nevertheless, prosocial bonds with parents, friends, and teachers did significant protect against psychosocially problematic gaming in both countries. Based on these findings various prevention measures are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy in 2014. The paper is part of a research project entitled, “Comparative Study on Online Game Use of Korean and Chinese Adolescents and Policy on the Prevention and Cure of Addiction”. The paper dealing with Korean cases was published in Addiction Research & Theory in 2017.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Game genre
  • Parental attachment
  • Parental mediation
  • Psychosocially problematic gaming
  • Relationship satisfaction


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