Dissociation in Problematic Gaming: a Systematic Review


Purpose of Review

The present article consists of a systematic review of recent (2007–2018) empirical studies addressing the relationship between problematic gaming and dissociation. Nineteen peer-reviewed empirical studies that examined the relationship between problematic gaming and dissociation were identified.

Recent Findings

The findings suggest that excessive video game use is linked to a variety of dissociative phenomena (e.g. depersonalisation experiences, escapism, psychotic-like experiences, game transfer phenomena).


Dissociative experiences are associated with problematic gaming. The findings support the hypothesis that problematic video game use can represent a maladaptive coping strategy on which people can rely to escape from disturbing mental states, adverse emotions or real-life problems. In these circumstances, dissociative symptoms might represent the side effects of an alteration in consciousness that is generated by excessive video game use. However, further research (especially experimental and longitudinal) is required in order to establish a potential causal link between problematic gaming patterns and dissociation.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Fanny Guglielmucci or Adriano Schimmenti.

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Guglielmucci, F., Monti, M., Franzoi, I.G. et al. Dissociation in Problematic Gaming: a Systematic Review. Curr Addict Rep 6, 1–14 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-019-0237-z

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  • Problematic gaming
  • Gaming disorder
  • Dissociation
  • Depersonalisation
  • Escapism
  • Psychotic-like experiences
  • Game transfer phenomena