Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Keith Beard

Second Advisor

April Fugett Fuller

Third Advisor

Keelon Hinton


The main purpose of this study was to examine the correlations between social anxiety, depression, and other psychological factors among online gamers in order to better understand the differences between excessive gamers (whose habits interfere with relationship, occupational, social, or health issues) and enthusiastic gamers (who spend much of their free time playing games but do not report any significant functional impairment as a result). A literature review revealed diverse conceptualizations of excessive gaming as well as differing opinions of what classifies gaming to be excessive/addicting/problematic, suggesting a need to more specifically analyze gaming habits in terms of coexisting pathology among particular genres of online gamers. Using data obtained from a survey of over 600 online gamers, differences in psychopathology, quality of life, and severity of excessive gaming habits were compared across three gaming media (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Games, Internet browser games, and online console games). Statistical analyses revealed differences between excessive and enthusiastic gamers as well as differences across gaming genres. The results show that social anxiety and depression combined are significant predictors of excessive gaming among MMORPG and Internet browser gamers with depression being a significantly stronger predictor. Excessive Internet browser gamers reported the highest level of depression. Additionally, excessive gamers also reported significantly lower qualities of life. Results and implications for practice and future research are discussed.


Video gamers - Psychology.

Social phobia.