Dispelling the myth of the socio-emotionally dissatisfied gamer

Herodotou, C.; Kambouri, M. and Winters, N. (2014). Dispelling the myth of the socio-emotionally dissatisfied gamer. Computers in Human Behavior, 32 pp. 23–31.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.10.054


The relationship between digital gaming and gamers’ psychological well-being has been an issue of concern in public and academic communities. Theorists advocate for the compensation hypothesis, arguing that real-life dissatisfaction such as social disintegration, reinforces motivation for gaming. Hence, the profile of the typical gamer has been one of emotionally and socially dissatisfied young individual. Considering for the fact that gaming is an increasingly social activity practised along with other individuals, this paper aims to evaluate the validity of these concerns by examining the Basic Psychological Needs (BPNs; Deci & Ryan, 1985) of 1298 World of Warcraft (WoW) gamers, viz gamers of a popular, massively multiplayer online game. Data collected from a large-scale online survey, revealed significant but weak associations between BPNs and gaming suggesting that gaming is less likely to be associated with gamers’ real-life socio-emotional status. The analysis of BPNs mean scores reinforced further this finding; the relatively high BPNs mean scores demonstrated that gamers’ Basic Psychological Needs are reasonably satisfied. Yet, in an attempt to identify the factors explaining game involvement, participants’ self-reported reasons for gaming were thematically analyzed. It was revealed that gamers are avidly social individuals. Their gaming practices are primarily reinforced by social interaction in the form of either competition or collaboration.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 44555
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0747-5632
  • Keywords
  • gamers; well-being; basic psychological needs; social interaction; motivation
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Depositing User
  • Christothea Herodotou