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Escaping into a simulated environment: A preliminary investigation into how MMORPGs are used to cope with real life stressors
conference contributionposted on 22.05.2020, 00:00 by Lorelle BowditchLorelle Bowditch, Anjum NaweedAnjum Naweed, J Chapman
The mechanisms underlying Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) are complex, and in order to gain a better understanding of the pathways to IGD a broader investigation of the social context and life environment of gamers is important. Little is understood about the real-life experiences of gamers who use internet gaming for relief from real-life problems. This study aimed to explore the types of external stressors internet gamers experience, and the ways in which internet gaming is used to cope with these stressors. As part of a larger psychosocial survey, adult World of Warcraft (WoW) players (N = 217) were asked for comments about a stressful event. Of this sample, 46 participants mentioned WoW in their response. Content analysis was used to analyse key themes relating to external stressors that led players to engage in WoW gameplay. Key themes of real-life stress; health issues; financial problems; and, family and social problems emerged. These findings showed the variety of external stressors that can lead an individual to be motivated to escape through MMORPG play. This study adds to our understanding of the relationship between gamers and video games, specifically in times of stress. Future investigation should examine links to gaming outcomes. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019.