Journal of Social Marketing, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2017.
Purpose Online gaming is a global phenomenon that can lead to behavioural addiction and affect players’ mental and physical health. This paper is novel in that it integrates the concepts of help-seeking and stages of change to investigate triggers for problem recognition for problematic online gaming that lead to help-seeking behaviour. Design/methodology/approach Critical Incident Technique method was used to collect a total of 78 critical incidents from a sample of 12 male online gamers who self-identified as having experienced problematic online gaming behaviour. Findings Six classifications of problem recognition triggers for young male problematic online gamers were identified: 1) self-realisation, 2) negative consequences, 3) negative emotions, 4) social influence, 5) competing priorities and 6) impact on social skills. Results indicate that both positive and negative triggers are important for problem recognition. Originality/value Valuable contributions were made to the social marketing literature by: 1) presenting an integrated model of help-seeking and stages of change theories; 2) providing new insights into SOC; and 3) expanding the understanding of the processes involved in the transition between pre-contemplation and contemplation.