Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 359–371 | Cite as

Prevalence and Correlates of Problematic Online Gaming: a Systematic Review of the Evidence Published in Chinese

  • Jiang Long
  • Tieqiao LiuEmail author
  • Yueheng Liu
  • Wei Hao
  • Pierre Maurage
  • Joël BillieuxEmail author
Technology Addiction (J Billieux, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Technology Addiction


Purpose of Review

With the ongoing debate about whether problematic online gaming (POG) constitutes a genuine mental disorder, it is important for all available evidence in the field to be accessible. In this systematic review, we summarize the numerous results related to POG published in Chinese in order to make them more accessible to the international community.

Recent Findings

We identified 36 relevant studies published in Chinese (7 epidemiological, 21 related to psychological factors, and 8 related to neurocognitive exploration, involving 362,328 participants in total). According to the literature, the prevalence rates of POG in China range from 3.5 to 17%, which is higher than those reported worldwide. Overall, the data published in Chinese are consistent with the international literature. Some distinctive findings emerged, however, in particular in relation to familial, scholastic, and social factors; cognitive impairments; and functional changes in neural circuits.


This review is the first to render available articles on POG in Chinese for the international community, which could contribute to the current debate on the status of POG as a genuine mental health condition. Crucially, findings from the Chinese literature often resulted from studies conducted on large random or clinical samples. This is important because a repeated criticism about the recognition of POG as a genuine disorder is the fact that the evidence-based results rely heavily on convenience samples of nonclinical participants.


Problematic online gaming Gaming addiction Gaming disorder Pathological gaming Chinese Systematic review 


Funding Information

The study was supported by the National Natural Science of China (Grant No. 81371465 and Grant No. 81671324), National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC1310400), and the provincial Natural Science Foundation of Hunan (Grant No. 2015JJ2180).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article has been edited by Editor-in-Chief Marc Potenza instead of Joël Billieux, as Joël Billieux is the Section Editor of the “Technological Addictions” topical collection.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mental Health Institute of the Second Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.The China National Clinical Research Center for Mental Health DisordersChangshaChina
  3. 3.Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology, Psychological Science Research InstituteUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  4. 4.Addictive and Compulsive Behaviours Lab (ACB-Lab), Institute for Health and BehaviourUniversity of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg

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