User-avatar bond profiles: How do they associate with disordered gaming?

Vasileios Stavropoulos, Rapson Gomez, Astrid Mueller, Murat Yucel, Mark Griffiths

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31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: The avatar constitutes the in-game representation of the gamer. Although aspects of the user-avatar bond (UAB) have been associated with disordered gaming, there is a need for clearer understanding concerning the impact of potential UAB profiles. Methods: To address this need, the present study recruited a normative sample of 1022 World of Warcraft (WoW) players (Mage = 28.55 years, SD = 9.90). Participants completed the User-Avatar Questionnaire (to assess UAB aspects such as identification, immersion, and compensation), the Proteus-Effect Scale (to assess transference of the avatar's behaviour in real life), and the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale–Short-Form (to assess disordered gaming). Results: Latent class analysis indicated the existence of three UAB profiles, ‘differentiated gamers’ (DGs), ‘identified gamers’ (IGs) and ‘fused gamers’ (FGs). The DGs were characterized by low scores across all UAB aspects. The IGs did not report significant Proteus Effect (PE) or immersion behaviours, and despite being more identified with their avatar, did not significantly compensate through it. The FGs presented with higher PE, immersion, and compensation, although they did not significantly identify with their avatars, possibly due to having idealized them. Disordered gaming behaviours were significantly lower for the DGs and sequentially higher for the IGs and the FGs. Preoccupation and mood modification behaviours related to gaming disorder were distinctively associated with FGs. Conclusion: Disordered gaming assessment and treatment implications of the UAB profiles are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106245
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Compensation
  • Disordered gaming
  • Gamer identity
  • Gaming profiles
  • IGD
  • Immersion
  • Proteus Effect
  • User-avatar bond

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