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Problematizing excessive online gaming and its psychological predictors

Kardefelt-Winther, Daniel (2014) Problematizing excessive online gaming and its psychological predictors. Computers in Human Behavior, 31 (1). pp. 118-122. ISSN 0747-5632

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.chb.2013.10.017


This study problematizes the common methodology in studies on excessive internet use where psychological characteristics are sought as unique predictors of negative outcomes. It suggests that some predictors may be significant only by virtue of being examined in isolation. In an attempt to add to this methodology the present study explored motivations for a particular online activity, MMO gaming, and the association with excessive use. The study used survey data from players of World of Warcraft (WoW), a popular MMO game. The psychological characteristics investigated were based on previous studies of excessive internet use and included social anxiety, loneliness and stress. The motivations were achievement, escapism and social interaction. The results revealed that although loneliness and social anxiety were correlated with excessive use, they lost significance when stress was controlled for. Furthermore, all psychological predictors lost significance when escapism and achievement were controlled for. These results suggest that psychological characteristics only have an indirect effect on negative outcomes and that this relationship can be better explained by motivations acting as a mediating variable. Based on these results an alternative conceptualization was offered, termed compensatory internet use, emphasizing that excessive use may be more usefully framed and investigated as a coping strategy rather than compulsive behaviour

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: Coping strategies; Excessive Internet use; Internet addiction; Internet use; On-line gaming; Psychological characteristics; Social interactions; World of Warcraft
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2013 15:57
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:08

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