Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


The Relationship of Online Gaming Addiction with Motivations to Play and Craving

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Harold Rosenberg (Advisor)

Second Advisor

William O'Brien (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Anne Gordon (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Amy Morgan (Committee Member)


Although many people play online games with few if any consequences, others appear to become addicted to such games. Consequences and symptoms of online gaming addiction can be severe, and may include inordinate time playing the game, sleep deprivation, social and romantic impairment, loss of control over gameplay, ceasing participation in other activities, and loss of educational or career opportunities. Despite these consequences, little research exists regarding interpersonal and intrapersonal factors and aspects of game structure that are associated with indicators of online gaming addiction. Identifying and examining these factors may help clinicians treat individuals who have difficulty moderating online gaming behavior, and may help parents or players choose varieties of games with lower addiction potential. Therefore, I designed the current study to examine several factors that may be associated with the number of endorsed indicators of online gaming addiction, including craving to play online games, motivations for playing online games, harmonious and obsessive passion for playing, and the match between players’ motivations for playing games and the structure of their game of choice. Using web-based recruitment and data-collection procedure, 542 participants completed questionnaires to assess indicators of online gaming addiction, craving, motivations, passionate attachment, and structural characteristics of their preferred game. On average, participants met 2 of 9 possible criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder, and 8% would be categorized as having Internet Gaming Disorder using a cut-off score of 5 criteria. Regression analyses to predict number of indicators of gaming addiction revealed the best predictors were obsessive passion, being motivated to play to escape from adverse moods or life problems, and craving scores. Regression analyses to predict craving for online game playing revealed the best predictors were being motivated to play to escape from adverse moods and/or life problems and to advance in status, power, or wealth in the game, number of criteria indicating addiction, playing games that emphasized relationships with other gamers, and obsessive passion scores. Findings support previous research identifying craving, obsessive passion, motivations for Escapism and Advancement, and in-game relationships as important factors in the experience of online gaming addiction.