PREDICTORS AND CORRELATES OF VIDEOGAME ENGAGEMENT AND VIDEOGAME ADDICTION

Date

2013-08

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Abstract

Since the late 1960s, videogames have become a staple of American culture. Currently, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), which allow players to operate in a fantasy world through an avatar or character of their choice, are among the most popular videogames. Even though playing videogames can offer educational and recreational benefits (Ceranoglu, 2010; Griffths, 2004), extensive playing can be addictive (Yee, 2006). Researchers have distinguished between videogame engagement and videogame addiction. Videogame engagement refers to amount of time spent playing, whereas videogame addiction focuses on the person’s inability to control time spent gaming and the dysfunction that may result from excessive play (Griffiths & Meredith, 2009). Research findings have revealed relatively high levels of co-morbidity of psychological dysfunctions (e.g., depression) with behavioral addictions such as gambling (Grant et al., 2010; Petry, 2009). These findings suggest that psychological dysfunctions may also be associated with videogame addiction. Working with Taiwanese college students, Hsu, Wen, and Wu (2009) developed the User Experience model to capture personal, social, and role-playing factors that motivate individuals to play and that contribute to addiction to online, multiplayer videogames. Research related to the predictors of engagement and addiction to videogame playing is scarce.

The objectives of this study included (a) to examine the factor structure of the User Experience Scale by Hsu et al. (2009) with North American gamers; (b) to examine the combined and unique contribution of the identified user motivation factors to videogame addiction, and (c) to examine the relation of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attention deficits to videogame addiction. Initial plans for the study also included examining the relationships between both motivations and psychological symptoms with videogame engagement; however, engagement, as measured by time spent gaming, was unrelated to the predictors. Additionally, a significant relationship between videogame engagement and addiction was not supported. Adult participants who live in North American were solicited to complete an online survey from online MMORPG forums; a chance to receive one of five $90 gift cards was offered as an incentive for participation. Instruments used to collect survey data included the User Experience Scale (Hsu, Wen, & Wu, 2009), Videogame Addiction Scale (Chou & Ting, 2003), Adult ADHD Self-Reporting Scale (World Health Organization, 2003), Penn State Worry Questionnaire (Meyer, Miller, Metzger, & Borkovec, 1990), and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (Radloff, 1977). Results of the factor analyses of the User Experience Scale items indicated that four distinct factors captured users’ motivations for playing videogames: Affiliation, Prestige, Accomplishment, and Fantasy. Regression analysis identified the factors of Accomplishment and Fantasy as distinctively contributing to videogame addiction. Of the psychological symptoms assessed, both ADHD and Depression contributed uniquely and positively to videogame addiction.

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Keywords

Video games, Addiction, Engagement, User experience

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