In recent years, the consumption of digital entertainment, especially video games, has become widely popular and has even broken down generational barriers.

Candy Crash, Fortnite, Pokémon Go, World of Warcraft are just one of the few video game titles that have a large group of fans among children, teenagers and adults, who devote several hours a day to them.

Enjoying this type of entertainment is good and age should not be an obstacle to enjoying it. But everything should be done in moderation, otherwise problems may arise.
Nowadays it is considered that a large percentage of the population, especially among teenagers, play video games in an addictive way, causing problems in the sphere of studies, work, family and social relations.

This is not new. The possibility of addictive behaviour arising from new technologies was raised decades ago. This is why one of the first tools to measure the severity of this type of problem was developed in the early 2000s: the PVP questionnaire .

We are going to explain what this questionnaire consists of, what were the antecedents that led to its elaboration, as well as mentioning some researches that have used it and some of its outstanding psychometric properties.

What is the PVP questionnaire?

The PVP questionnaire, called the Problem Video Game Playing Questionnaire , is the first psychological instrument designed to assess problems arising from video game abuse . This questionnaire can include any type of video game from any type of console, whether portable (game boy), desktop (PlayStation) or arcade (arcade machines).

This tool was published in 2002 in the journal Addiction, and its authors are the psychology professors Ricardo A. Tejeiro Salguero, from the University of Liverpool and Rosa M. Bersabé Morán, from the University of Málaga.

The PVP questonary was based on the review of several of the DSM-IV criteria for substance dependence and pathological gambling disorders . At the beginning of the 2000’s there was still a rather limited view of what was understood as pathological gambling. Although the problems that could lead to video game abuse were already suspected, pathological gambling was still seen as something exclusive to casinos and slot machines.

This is why the application of instruments such as the PVP questionnaire and others that were developed later are adequate to know, in a quantitative way, how serious the problem with video games can be, but without the need to establish a specific diagnosis .

However, in view of the growing use of video games among young people, researchers and the PLA and WHO themselves have considered the need to include the abuse of this type of entertainment among addictions.
It can be said that, to date, there is still controversy about whether the problems associated with new technologies, video games and the Internet should be considered addictions in their own right, and put them in the same category as alcoholism and the abuse of other substances.

In fact, while the WHO at ICD-11 did include a gaming-related disorder, the APA did not consider it appropriate to include something similar in the development of DSM-5 because it considered that there was not enough evidence to form the diagnostic label of gaming disorder on the Internet.


Psychologists Ricardo A. Tejeiro Salguero and Rosa M. Bersabé Morán saw, in the early 2000s, that relatively little research had been done in the field of pathological behaviors associated with video game abuse.

Even though it was already noted at that time that abusing new technologies could lead to addictive situations, accompanied by antisocial behaviors and loss of large amounts of money, the research of the time had been limited, for the most part, to seeing the amount of hours people dedicated to this type of entertainment .

At that time, it was not at all clear what proportion of teenagers could be considered ‘addicted’ to this type of leisure activity. Studies such as Brooks in 1983 suggested that they must be a minority, while others, such as Egli and Meyers in 1984, said that, within the population, one could expect percentages of between 10 and 15% of gamers to be addicted to video games.

Given the lack of diagnostic criteria for this type of behavior and the absence of adequate tools to measure it, Tejeiro Salguero and Bersabé Morán proceeded to elaborate the PVP questionnaire based on criteria from the fourth edition of the DSM and several studies from the 1980s and 1990s that had laid the foundations for measuring this type of problem in a timid manner.


Given the importance that the PVP questionnaire acquired after its publication in the journal Addiction in 2003, this tool has been used in multiple subsequent investigations. The questionnaire is considered a reference when measuring the abuse of video games , such as the Beck Inventory for depression or the WAIS test for intelligence. It should be said that it has been used both in its original version and with small modifications, whether for reasons of language or cultural differences.

To date, there are more than thirty published studies in which this questionnaire has been used, with samples taken from several countries: Spain, France, Iceland, the United States, Canada, Chile, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, Peru and the United Kingdom, among many others.

Psychometric properties

A recent systematic review of questionnaires related to new technology addictions, specifically that conducted by Daniel L. King and company’s group in 2013, concluded that the PVP questionnaire is the best instrument for addressing addictions associated with video game abuse and also Internet addiction.

In 2002, when Tejeiro Salguero and Bersabé Morán carried out the validation study, they administered this questionnaire to some 223 adolescents in the cities of Granada capital and La Línea de la Concepción. When the factor analysis was carried out, it was concluded that it was a one-dimensional test.

The internal consistency was acceptable in spite of having a limited number of items , obtaining a Crombach’s alpha coefficient of 0.67. Given this, the adaptations that can be made to this questionnaire should be made with great care, especially if its quantity is reduced, given that it would lose internal consistency.

Bibliographic references:

  • Brooks, B. D. (1983) [Untitled]. In: Baugham, S. S. & Clagett, P. D., eds. Video Games and Human Development: a Research Agenda for the 80s. Cambridge, MA: Gutman Library
  • Egli, E. A. & Meyers, L. S. (1984) The role of videogame playing in adolescent life: is there reason to be concerned? Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 22, 309-312.
  • Elliott, L. Golub, A. Ream, G. and Dunlap, E. (2011) Video Game Genre as a Predictor of Problem Use. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and Social Networking, 15(3), 155-161.
  • Hart G. M., Johnson B., Stamm B., Angers N., Robinson A., Lally T., Fagley W.H. (2009)Efectos de los videojuegos en adolescentes y adultos. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 12(1):63-65.
  • King, D.L., Haagsma, M.C., Delfabbro, P.H., Gradisar, M. & Griffiths, M.D. (2013). Hacia una definición consensuada de los videojuegos patológicos: Una revisión sistemática de las herramientas de evaluación psicométrica. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(3), 331-342..
  • Lewis M. L., Weber R., Bowman N.D. (2008) Puede que sean píxeles, pero son MIS píxeles:” desarrollando una métrica de la fijación de personajes en los videojuegos de rol. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 11(4) 515-518
  • Ream, G. L., Elliott, L. C. y Dunlap, E. (2011) Playing Video Games While Using or Feeling the Effects of Substances: Asociaciones con problemas de uso de sustancias. 8(10), 3979-3998.
  • Tejeiro-Salguero y Bersabé-Moran (2002). Medición del problema de los videojuegos en los adolescentes. Adicción, 97, 1601-1606.
  • Tolchinsky, A.y Jefferson, S. D. (2011) Problemática del juego de video en una muestra de universidad y su relación con las habilidades de manejo del tiempo y la sintomatología del trastorno por déficit de atención e hiperactividad Ciberpsicología, comportamiento y redes sociales 14(9).