pathological video game play, video game addiction, parenting, Internet gaming disorder, depression, parental competence


For most people, playing video games is a normal recreational activity, with little disruption to gamers’ emotional, social, or physical health and well-being. However, for a small percentage of gamers, video gaming can become pathological (Fam, 2018). Substantial research has examined pathological gaming in teens and young adults (Cheng, Cheung, & Wang, 2018; Choo, Gentile, Sim, Khoo, & Liau, 2010), yet pathological gaming in adults (c.f.Holgren, 2017), especially in the context of parenthood, has been relatively ignored. The current study sought to address this limitation by studying associations between pathological gaming characteristics and parenting outcomes in a sample of men and women who have had a child in the last year. Fathers spent more time than mothers playing video games and displayed more pathological video gaming tendencies. Pathological gaming for mothers and fathers was related to increased depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms mediated the relationship between pathological gaming and decreased feelings of parental efficacy, perceived parental competence, increased parenting stress, and increased perceived impact of parenting. Pathological video game playing was also directly related to decreased feelings of parental efficacy for mothers and fathers. Implications of the results and directions for future research are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Laura Stockdale, Sarah M. Coyne, Parenting paused: Pathological video game use and parenting outcomes, Addictive Behaviors Reports, Volume 11, 2020, 100244.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Addictive Behaviors Reports




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor