Get it? WOW (like world of warcraft)! I couldn’t help myself.
We’ve been talking a lot about what classifies an addiction or a compulsion, and whether or not clear distinctions can even be made between these two concepts. One ‘addiction’ that seems to be rather questionable (at least in it’s status as an addiction) is addiction to the internet–more specifically, addiction to online gaming. If I had to characterize this addiction, the first thing that comes to my mind is my younger brother. He is 20 years old and currently lives at home with our parents. In his free time he plays World of Warcraft practically non-stop. He will go to work for a couple of hours and when he returns he is in his room on his computer playing WoW. If he’s not at the computer, he’s in the kitchen getting food or in the bathroom. No where else. Anytime I am home I don’t see him unless it’s dinner time or I go into his room. He is constantly on the computer (granted, he was on it a lot more frequently in high school, but he certainly spends more time playing this game than even sleeping per day).
I just don’t understand it. I would be INCREDIBLY bored if this was what my days consisted of. I was interested in looking more into the possibility and reasoning behind such ‘addictions’, because I feel as though this is so different from something like a cocaine addiction (at least this is my opinion). Furthermore, as I mentioned today in class, I have been wondering whether the idea of having a sensation-seeking personality may actually ‘predispose’ or make you more ‘vulnerable’ to develop an addicition. Since Melissa is NOT PubMed (who knew!?) and wasn’t sure if there were any studies on this subject, I turned to actual PubMed in my quest for answers. And behold-I found a really interesting study in the Journal of Cyberpsychology & Behavior (yes, this is a real journal) which discusses risk-factors for addiction in a sample of college-age participants. Check out the abstract-it’s pretty interesting!
Research into online gaming has steadily increased over the last decade, although relatively little research has examined the relationship between online gaming addiction and personality factors. This study examined the relationship between a number of personality traits (sensation seeking, self-control, aggression, neuroticism, state anxiety, and trait anxiety) and online gaming addiction. Data were collected over a 1-month period using an opportunity sample of 123 university students at an East Midlands university in the United Kingdom. Gamers completed all the online questionnaires. Results of a multiple linear regression indicated that five traits (neuroticism, sensation seeking, trait anxiety, state anxiety, and aggression) displayed significant associations with online gaming addiction. The study suggests that certain personality traits may be important in the acquisition, development, and maintenance of online gaming addiction, although further research is needed to replicate the findings of the present study.
Mehroof, M., & Griffiths, M.D. (2009). Online gaming addiction: The role sensation seeking, self-control, neuroticism, aggression, state anxiet, and trait anxiety. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, e-published.
What do you guys think of this study? Do you think such observations/conclusions can be applied to drug addictions? Sex addicitions? Food? Admittedly, this study seems rather limited, but I think it is very telling that they would find such compelling correlations. Futhermore, I thought it was pretty amusing that they performed the necessary questionnaires online… 🙂