1. In this cross-sectional study, a higher internet gaming disorder (IGD) score was associated with increasing insomnia severity, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism.
2. However, insomnia severity fully mediated the association between IGDs and paranoid ideation, while cyberbullying partially mediated the association between IGDs and psychoticism.
Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)
Online gaming is a common form of recreation, and studies show that internet gaming disorders (IGDs) are highly prevalent in adolescents and young adults. Online gaming may be associated with insomnia and cyberbullying, which can precipitate psychotic experiences (PEs). However, the link between IGDs and PEs remains poorly understood, and the potential mediating factors in the relationship between IGDs and PEs, such as cyberbullying and insomnia, require further investigation. The present study aimed to evaluate the role of IGDs on PEs and the mediating impact of insomnia severity and cyberbullying on this relationship.
This cross-sectional study included 851 Tunisian university students who participated between February and May 2022. Participants were included if they were 18 years or older, were affiliated with a public Tunisian university, and had no history of psychosis or taking antipsychotic medication. Participants were excluded if they indicated a history of any diagnosed mental illness or if they did not complete the entire questionnaire. Participants completed a questionnaire regarding demographic information, the Internet Gaming Disorder-20 Test (IGD-20), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), the Revised Cyber Bullying Inventory-II (RCBI-II), and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS-21). The primary outcome was the relationship between IGDs and PEs, as identified by the scores on the various self-report measurement instruments.
The results demonstrated that higher scores on the IGD-20 were associated with increasing insomnia severity and PEs, indicated by increased paranoid ideation and psychoticism. Insomnia severity fully mediated the association between IGDs and paranoid ideation, while cyberbullying partly mediated the association between IGDs and psychoticism. Furthermore, there was also an indirect relationship between IGDs and psychoticism, whereby higher IGD scores were associated with higher rates of cyberbullying, which was consequently associated with increased psychoticism. However, the study was limited by the self-reported nature of the study, which may have introduced social desirability bias. Nonetheless, the present study suggested that there is a clear link between IGDs and PEs, which is at least partially mediated by insomnia and cyberbullying.
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