The moderating role of coping mechanisms and being an e-sport player between psychiatric symptoms and gaming disorder: online survey

Bányai, F., Zsila, Á., Kökönyei, G., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, Demetrovics, Z. and Király, O., 2021. The moderating role of coping mechanisms and being an e-sport player between psychiatric symptoms and gaming disorder: online survey. JMIR Mental Health, 8 (3): e21115.

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Background: The emerging popularity of playing video games (gaming) as a hobby and as a professional sport raises awareness about both the benefits and possible downsides of the activity. Although a healthy and passionate hobby for most, a minority of gamers experience addiction-like symptoms and are considered to have gaming disorder (GD). GD has previously been found to be related to aversive conditions, such as depression or anxiety, as well as putatively maladaptive coping strategies.

Objective: The aim of this study is twofold: to explore the moderating effect of different coping strategies and type of video game usage (professional [e-sport] or recreational) on the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and GD.

Methods: A sample of 3476 gamers (n=3133, 90.13% males; mean age 23.20, SD 6.48 years) was recruited via the website and social networking site of the most popular gaming magazine in Hungary (GameStar).

Results: The main effect of psychiatric symptoms was moderate to large in all models, whereas the moderation effects were significant (P<.001) for 4 out of 8 coping strategies (ie, self-blame/self-distraction, denial, emotional/social support, and active coping). However, the explained variance of the models only increased negligibly (from 0.3% to 0.5%) owing to the moderation effect. The direction of the moderations was as expected (ie, putatively maladaptive strategies were associated with more GD symptoms when the level of psychiatric symptoms was high, while putatively adaptive strategies were associated with less). Furthermore, no considerable moderation effect of the player type (recreational vs professional players) was found on the association between psychiatric symptoms and GD (β=.04; P=.02; 0.1% change in the explained variance).

Conclusions: Future studies should be designed to better understand coping-related mechanisms in the context of video gaming and GD.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: JMIR Mental Health
Creators: Bányai, F., Zsila, Á., Kökönyei, G., Griffiths, M.D., Demetrovics, Z. and Király, O.
Publisher: JMIR Publications Inc.
Date: 23 March 2021
Volume: 8
Number: 3
33755024PubMed ID
Rights: ©Fanni Bányai, Ágnes Zsila, Gyöngyi Kökönyei, Mark D Griffiths, Zsolt Demetrovics, Orsolya Király. Originally published in JMIR Mental Health (, 23.03.2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Mental Health, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 14 Jun 2021 08:48
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 08:48

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