A Stress-Coping Model of Problem Online Video Game Use

  • Nick Maroney
  • Benedict J. WilliamsEmail author
  • Anna Thomas
  • Jason Skues
  • Richard Moulding
Original Article


It is argued that problem video game use (PVGU) has similarities with behavioral addictions such as problem gambling. Unlike other addictions, the predictors of online PVGU have not been studied extensively. We applied a stress-coping model, previously developed for electronic gambling addiction, to PVGU. In this model, stressors lead to excessive behavior via maladaptive coping strategies involving the behavior. Video game players (N = 2261) completed an online questionnaire about their gaming habits, and self-report measures of depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and escapism and social interaction motives for gaming. Consistent with the stress-coping model, depression, loneliness, and social anxiety predicted levels of PVGU, these effects being partially mediated by escapism and social interaction motives for gaming. The pattern of mediation differed by gamers’ preferred game genre in a way that suggested “First Person Shooter” games provide an escape from aversive states, while, in addition to providing escape, massively multiplayer online role playing games, which emphasize collaborative play, may also be supplementing or substituting for face-to-face social interactions.


Problem video game use Video game addiction Gaming disorder Online Stress Coping 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Maroney
    • 1
  • Benedict J. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Thomas
    • 2
  • Jason Skues
    • 1
  • Richard Moulding
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesSwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia
  2. 2.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Deakin University, Centre for Drug Use, Addictive and Anti-Social Behaviour Research (CEDAAR)GeelongAustralia

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