Internet Gaming Disorder: the interplay between physical activity and user–avatar relationship


Understanding both the risk and protective factors associated with Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) has been viewed by many in the gaming studies field as an area of research priority. The present study focused on the potential risk and protective effects of user–avatar (game figure) relationship and physical activity (PA), respectively. To address these aims, a cross-sectional and a longitudinal mixed-methods design were combined (comprising both psychological and physiological assessments). A sample of 121 emerging adult gamers (18–29 years) residing in Australia, who played massively multiplayer online games, were assessed in relation to their IGD behaviours using the nine-item Internet Gaming Disorder Scale – Short Form. Additionally, the Proto-Self-Presence (PSP) scale was used to evaluate the extent to which gamers identified with the body of their avatar. Finally, a PA monitor (Fitbit Flex) measured levels of energy consumed during real-world daily activities (active minutes). A number of linear regressions and moderation analyses were conducted. Findings confirmed that PSP functioned as an IGD risk factor and that PA acted protectively, weakening the association between PSP and IGD behaviours. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to IGD treatment and gaming development aspects.


All’interno di questo elaborato l’attenzione è stata rivolta ad una specifica forma di dipendenza da internet, ovvero la dipendenza da Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs)

Lo studio mette in evidenza che i giocatori che sperimentano livelli più elevati di identificazione con il corpo dei loro avatar, tendono a presentare livelli più alti di comportamenti di disturbo da gioco su internet. Un altro dato interessante emerge dall’aver osservato che i comportamenti del disturbo da gioco su Internet esibiti dai giocatori con livelli più elevati di identificazione con i loro avatar tendono a essere più bassi quanto più sono fisiologicamente attivi nella vita reale.


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