Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
A longitudinal design was employed to collect three waves of survey data over a 14 month period from 2790 online gamers. Respondents were asked questions about their gaming activity, motivations, personality, social and emotional environment, and the effect gaming has had on their lives. Prospective analysis was used to establish causal and temporal linkages among the repeatedly measured factors. While the data provide some indication that a player’s reasons for playing do influence the development of problematic usage, these effects are overshadowed by the central importance of self-regulation in managing both the timing and amount of play. An individual’s level of self-regulatory activity is shown to be very important in allowing them to avoid negative outcomes like problematic use. The role of depression is also discussed. With responsible use, online gaming appears to be a healthy recreational activity that provides millions of people with hours of social entertainment and adaptive diversion. However, failure to manage play behavior can lead to feelings of dependency.