A Stress-Coping Model of Problem Online Video Game Use

  • Nick Maroney
  • Benedict J. Williams
  • Anna Thomas
  • Jason Skues
  • Richard Moulding
Original Article

Abstract

It is argued that problem video game use (PVGU) has similarities with behavioral addictions such as problem gambling. Unlike other addictions, the predictors of online PVGU have not been studied extensively. We applied a stress-coping model, previously developed for electronic gambling addiction, to PVGU. In this model, stressors lead to excessive behavior via maladaptive coping strategies involving the behavior. Video game players (N = 2261) completed an online questionnaire about their gaming habits, and self-report measures of depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and escapism and social interaction motives for gaming. Consistent with the stress-coping model, depression, loneliness, and social anxiety predicted levels of PVGU, these effects being partially mediated by escapism and social interaction motives for gaming. The pattern of mediation differed by gamers’ preferred game genre in a way that suggested “First Person Shooter” games provide an escape from aversive states, while, in addition to providing escape, massively multiplayer online role playing games, which emphasize collaborative play, may also be supplementing or substituting for face-to-face social interactions.

Keywords

Problem video game use Video game addiction Gaming disorder Online Stress Coping 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

References

  1. Amichai-Hamburger, Y., Wainapel, G., & Fox, S. (2002). “On the internet no one knows I’m an introvert”: extroversion, neuroticism, and internet interaction. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 5(2), 125–128.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cole, H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Social interactions in massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 10(4), 575–584.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.9988.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Compas, B. E., Connor-Smith, J. K., Saltzman, H., Thomsen, A. H., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2001). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence: problems, progress, and potential in theory and research. Psychological Bulletin, 127(1), 87–127.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0033-2909.127.1.87.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cooper, M. L., Russell, M., Skinner, J. B., Frone, M. R., & Mudar, P. (1992). Stress and alcohol use: moderating effects of gender, coping, and alcohol expectancies. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101(1), 139–152.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper, M. L., Frone, M. R., Russell, M., & Mudar, P. (1995). Drinking to regulate positive and negative emotions: a motivational model of alcohol use. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 990–1005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fritz, M. S., & MacKinnon, D. P. (2007). Required sample size to detect the mediated effect. Psychological Science, 18(3), 233–239.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01882.x.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Frostling-Henningsson, M. (2009). First-person shooter games as a way of connecting to people: “brothers in blood”. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 12(5), 557–562.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2008.0345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gentile, D., Choo, H., Liau, A., Sim, T., Li, D., Fung, D., & Khoo, A. (2011). Pathological video game use among youths: a two-year longitudinal study. Pediatrics, 127(2), e319–e329.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-1353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Griffiths, M. (2010). The role of context in online gaming excess and addiction: some case study evidence. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 8(1), 119–125.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-009-9229-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: a regression-based approach. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hsu, S. H., Wen, M. H., & Wu, M. C. (2009). Exploring user experiences as predictors of MMORPG addiction. Computers and Education, 53(3), 990–999.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.05.016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hussain, Z., & Griffiths, M. D. (2009). Excessive use of massively multi-player online role-playing games: a pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7(4), 563–571.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-009-9202-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnston, L., Titov, N., Andrews, G., Spence, J., & Dear, B. F. (2011). A RCT of a transdiagnostic internet-delivered treatment for three anxiety disorders: examination of support roles and disorder-specific outcomes. PLoS One, 6(11), e28079.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. King, D. L., Delfabbro, P. H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2010). Recent innovations in video game addiction research and theory. Global Media Journal - Australian Edition, 4(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
  15. King, D., Delfabbro, P., & Zajac, I. (2011). Preliminary validation of a new clinical tool for identifying problem video game playing. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9(1), 72–87.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-009-9254-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. King, D. L., Haagsma, M. C., Delfabbro, P. H., Gradisar, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2013). Toward a consensus definition of pathological video-gaming: a systematic review of psychometric assessment tools. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(3), 331–342.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, coping and appraisal. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  18. Lo, S., Wang, C., & Fang, W. (2005). Physical interpersonal relationships and social anxiety among online game players. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 8(1), 15–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lovibond, P. F., & Lovibond, S. H. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: scales (DASS) with the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories. Behavior Research and Therapy, 33(3), 335–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McKenna, K., & Bargh, J. (1999). Causes and consequences of social interaction on the Internet: a conceptual framework. Media Psychology, 1(3), 249–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mentzoni, R., Brunborg, G., Molde, H., Myrseth, H., Skouveroe, K., Hetland, J., & Pallesen, S. (2011). Problematic video game use: estimated prevalence and associations with mental and physical health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 14(10), 591–596.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ng, B. D., & Wiemer-Hastings, P. (2005). Addiction to the internet and online gaming. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 8(2), 110–114.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2005.8.110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Peters, C. S., & Malesky, L. A. (2008). Problematic usage among highly-engaged players of massively multiplayer online role playing games. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 11(4), 481–484.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.0140.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peters, L., Sunderland, M., Andrews, G., Rapee, R. M., & Mattick, R. P. (2012). Development of a short form Social Interaction Anxiety (SIAS) and Social Phobia Scale (SPS) using nonparametric item response theory: The SIAS-6 and the SPS-6. Psychological Assessment, 24(1), 66–76.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024544.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Russell, D. W. (1996). UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3): reliability, validity, and factor structure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66(1), 20–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shen, C., & Williams, D. (2011). Unpacking time online: connecting internet and massively multiplayer online game use with psychosocial well-being. Communication Research, 38(1), 123–149.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650210377196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sherry, J.L., Lucas, K., Greenberg, B.S., & Lachlan, K. (2006). Video game uses and gratifications as predictors of use and game preference. In Playing video games: Motives, responses, and consequences, 213–224. Retrieved from http://icagames.comm.msu.edu/vgu%26g.pdf
  28. Thomas, A. C., Sullivan, G. B., & Allen, F. C. L. (2009). A theoretical model of EGM problem gambling: more than a cognitive escape. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7(1), 97–107.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-008-9152-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thomas, A. C., Allen, F. L., Phillips, J., & Karantzas, G. (2011). Gaming machine addiction: the role of avoidance, accessibility and social support. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(4), 738–744.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024865.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wan, C., & Chiou, W. (2006). Why are adolescents addicted to online gaming? An interview study in Taiwan. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 9(6), 762–767 Retrieved from http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/cpb.2006.9.762.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Whang, L. S. M., Lee, S., & Chang, G. (2003). Internet over-users’ psychological profiles: a behaviour sampling analysis on internet addiction. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 6(2), 143–150.  https://doi.org/10.1089/109493103321640338.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wood, R. T., Griffiths, M. D., Chappell, D., & Davies, M. N. O. (2004). The structural characteristics of video games: a psycho-structural analysis. Cyberpsychology and Behavior: The impact of the Internet, Multimedia and Virtual Reality on Behavior and Society, 7(1), 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.1089/109493104322820057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Xu, Y., Cao, X., Sellen, A., Herbrich, R., & Graepel, T. (2011). Sociable killers: understanding social relationships in an online first-person shooter game. In Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 197–206). ACM.Google Scholar
  34. Yee, N. (2006). Motivations for play in online games. Cyberpsychology and Behaviour: The Impact of the Internet, Multimedia and Virtual Reality on Behavior and Society, 9(6), 772–775.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2006.9.772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Young, K. S. (2009). Understanding online gaming addiction and treatment issues for adolescents. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 37(5), 355–372.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0192618090294219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Maroney
    • 1
  • Benedict J. Williams
    • 1
  • Anna Thomas
    • 2
  • Jason Skues
    • 1
  • Richard Moulding
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesSwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia
  2. 2.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Deakin University, Centre for Drug Use, Addictive and Anti-Social Behaviour Research (CEDAAR)GeelongAustralia

Personalised recommendations