Everybody knows that some people get addicted to computer games. The Gaming Addiction Scale measures the level of addiction. Game addiction is related to loneliness, anxiety, and depression (all things you can also measure with PsyToolkit, check the survey).

For an interesting BBC documentary about computer game addiction click here.

The Gaming Addiction Scale (Lemmens et al., 2011) has been developed for adolescents, although there is no obvious reason why it cannot also be used with adults.

There is a longer and a shorter version. The long version has 21 questions and the short version only 7. Both have a high level of reliability and here the short version is presented.

The scale measures 7 criteria of computer addiction:

Criterion Description


Gaming becomes the most important activity


Someone starts playing more and more

Mood modification

Feeling a "high" or "buzz" or other experience when gaming


Unpleasant emotion when not playing


Tendency to return to excessive playing after period of abstinence or control


Getting into interpersonal conflicts due to gaming


Having problems caused by excessive gaming

There are different approaches to determining if someone is addicted (check the Lemmens paper, p.87-88, for details).

There is one question for each criterion, and each is measured on a 5 point Likert scale. You can use the mid-point as a cut-off point (i.e., a score of 3, 4, or 5 on a criterion). If 4 or more criteria are met this way, you are considered addicted according to the polythetic format (as used by the DSM in the section on gambling).

Using this latter method, the Lemmens et al. study with hundreds of Dutch adolescents between 12 and 18 years, found that over 9% of the gamers were addicted.

Interestingly, there are more gamers among boys than among girls. Among the gamers, boys play nearly twice as long as girls. The time spent on games in the Dutch sample ranged from 10 minutes to an amazing 63 hours per week (which is 37.5% of all time!).

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It seems that the Gaming Addiction Scale can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (References).


This is a simple scale question.

The questionnaire uses the abbreviation "e.g.". If you are not sure your participants (maybe adolescents) will be familiar with this abbreviation, I recommend to just use "for example" instead.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: howoften
- {score=0} never
- {score=0} rarely
- {score=1} sometimes
- {score=1} often
- {score=1} very often

l: gas
t: scale howoften
o: width 50%
q: How often during the last six months...
- did you think about playing a game all day long?
- did you spend increasing amounts of time on games?
- did you play games to forget about real life?
- have others unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use?
- have you felt bad when you were unable to play?
- did you have fights with others (e.g., family, friends) over your time spent on games?
- have you neglected other important activities (e.g., school, work, sports) to play games?

l: gasscore
t: set
- sum $gas

l: feedback
t: info
q: <b>You meet {$gasscore} criteria.</b><br><br>
According to the polythetic format (as used in the DSM for diagnosing pathological gambling), at least half of the criteria is required to be diagnosed as "addicted".<br>
Thus, if you score 4 or higher, you would be considered a game playing addict.<br>


  • Lemmens, J.S., Valkenburg, P.M. & Peter, J. (2009). Development and validation of a game addiction scale for adolescents. Media Psychology, 12(1), 77-95.