The present study explores the relationship between social motivations and addiction to online gaming and if that possible connection can be explained by the personality traits responsible for social functioning.
We employ Bernstein’s concept of interpersonal dependency to distinguish healthy dependency, dysfunctional detachment, and destructive overdependence, and Charlton and Danforth’s conceptualisation of online gaming addiction and high engagement. An online questionnaire was administered to a self-nominated sample of 4,074 online gamers. Two regression models were constructed to separately explain gaming addiction and high engagement using social motivations to play, while controlling for age, gender, and time spent online.
High scores on subscales measuring dysfunctional detachment and destructive overdependence were positively associated with online gaming addiction, while healthy dependency was negatively correlated with addiction scores. In contrast, the overall role of social motivation was negligible.
People with healthy relationship profiles are less likely to develop problematic patterns of online gaming. High in-game engagement, although sharing some factors with addiction, was only poorly explained by the study variables, suggesting the mutual exclusiveness of addiction and engagement.