Author(s): Schmit S, Chauchard E, Chabrol H, Sejourne N
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study are to assess the social characteristics, coping strategies, self-esteem and depressive symptoms in a population-dependent and not dependent on video games online, in order to investigate the correlations existing between these characteristics. METHOD: The study was conducted among 193 subjects. Data were collected through a global questionnaire constituted of several scales. The global questionnaire consisted of a sociodemographic part (age, sex, social status, most played game, number of hours per week devoted to the game), a questionnaire assessing dependence and abuse according to the DSM -IV-TR, the feeling of social belonging scale (or ESAS which was doubled to collect information about the belonging in real life and virtual life), the Ways of coping check-list (WCCL), the Rosenberg self-esteem scale (EES), the Quality of interpersonal relations scale (EQRI), the UCLA Loneliness scale and the Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale (CES-D). The questionnaire was broadcasted on the Internet, specifically in the forums dedicated to "massively multiplayer online role-playing games" and in young people's forums in specific subject headings. RESULTS: The results show that there are significant differences between the two populations, especially regarding the social characteristics, depressive symptoms, self-esteem and coping strategies. In the entire population, 66 subjects (42\%) were considered dependent on online video games and 92 subjects (58\%) were not considered dependent. In the dependent population, the number of hours spent playing per week, the score of social belonging in the virtual life, the coping focused on the emotion, the score of loneliness or social isolation and the score obtained on the CES-D appeared more important than the scores obtained by the non-dependent. Moreover, the average age, the scores of social belonging in real life, self-esteem and sub-dimensions "family" and "friends" of the quality of interpersonal relations scale are lower than those obtained by the non-dependent. Furthermore, the number of hours of play per week, the feeling of social belonging, self-esteem, quality of family relationships and loneliness are predictive factors of addiction to video games online. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that one of the crucial issues in dependence is the monitoring of game practice. Indeed, dependence on video games is based on a real hardware that needs to be controlled and managed by a third party before the emergence of a dependency. Therefore the results of this study suggest the establishment of better prevention, especially among parents who are confronted in majority with a world and a technology that is unknown or too complicated. In the case of a proven addiction, the study proposes care therapy focused on the social link, especially the family link, and a particular care to work on self-esteem. Copyright © 2010 L'Encéphale, Paris. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Encephale
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy