Divorce: 15% Due To Game Addiction

An interesting article from Game Politics (hey that’s the 2nd one today!) citing a website called Divorce Online. Divorce Online state that 15 percent of divorces can be attributed to game addiction.

From GP:

According to a press release issued by Divorce Online, an examination of 200 unreasonable behavior petitions filed by women using its service between January – April of this year found that 15 percent complained that their husbands were happier playing video games than they were paying attention to them.

Once again I must express my skepticism.

And I’ll start by saying that I do believe that there are some legitimate cases of game addiction. Some people do have problems with handling their compulsions, and we see addicts of all different kinds: Gambling addicts, sex addicts, Television Addicts, Chocolate Addicts… okay that last one cannot be an addiction. Something so good cannot possibly be addictive.

But as proportions of the overall population these people are a fairly small percentage, and surely could not account for such a large percentage of divorces.

So let’s look at the important part of that quote again.

…complained that their husbands were happier playing video games than they were paying attention to them.

That’s the crux right there.

Perhaps the marriage was already bad, and the respondants husbands simply wanted a distraction from an already unhappy situation. I’m not married, but if I were and my marriage was unreconcilable, I might spend time away from the other half too.

In days gone by, husbands and wives in bad marriages did spent time ignoring each other. There’s nothing new in that. The only thing that has changed here is that there are now distractions like World of Warcraft and other games for one of the parties to escape to. Rather than heading down the pub, or escaping to the toolshed, these guys spend some time in WoW. Rightly or wrongly, these husbands are retreating from their marriages, just like husbands in bad marriages have done for centuries.

I also suspect that even if the gaming time were reasonable and non-compulsive, there would be some complaints about it from unhappy wives. These would get incorporated into the ‘official’ figures and be reported as we have just seen.

So my skepticism remains. I don’t believe that gaming is addictive, or is causing the break down of marriage. Remember correlation is not causation.