Abstract The aim of this study was to apply the cognitive behavioral model of problematic Internet use to the context of online game use to obtain a better understanding of problematic use of online games and its negative consequences. In total, 597 online game playing adolescents aged 12–22years participated in this study. Results showed that the cognitive behavioral model of problematic Internet use can also be used in the context of online game use. More specifically, preference for online social interaction, mood regulation and deficient self-regulation appeared to play an important role in predicting negative outcomes from problematic online game use. Together, these cognitions and behaviors explained 79% of the variance of negative outcomes scores. These findings can be used to develop strategies that aim at reducing problematic online game behavior and its negative consequences.