Escapism: a powerful predictor of Internet gambling disorder among esports players
When intense video game immersion is motivated by escapism behavior, both professional (esport) and recreational gamers are at risk of developing a gaming disorder.
A new study published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry is the first to compare professional esports players with recreational video game players and explores the similarities and differences between what drives each group. Although the two groups are psychosocially different, they found that esports and recreational players are at risk of developing Internet gaming disorder when their intense immersion in the activity is linked to escapism.
Escapism is a mental disorder
“Previous research has linked escapism to psychiatric distress and gambling disorders in recreational gamers. While esports players have many positive motivators like skill development, our study found that excessive immersion in some people may indicate mental health issues” explained analyst Zsolt Demetrovics, PhD, Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.
Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is described by major classification manuals (DSM-5 and ICD-11) as serious behaviors that significantly impair personal, family, social, educational, and professional functioning. Although the condition affects only a minority of players, it is associated with depression, anxiety and social anxiety.
Gambling motivations have also been shown to predict gambling disorder, particularly the incidence of escapism when gamers play video games to avoid real-life problems. The present study has demonstrated a number of innovative findings that can help advance the field and suggests a number of practical and policy implications.
Escapism, present in many esports players
Analysts surveyed nearly 4,300 recreational and esports players to collect data on duration of play, motivations for play, presence and severity of gambling disorders, and psychiatric symptoms. In addition, the mediating effect of gambling motivations in esports and recreational players between psychiatric distress and problem gambling was examined.
Their results revealed that esports gamers spent significantly more time playing video games on weekdays and weekends than recreational gamers. Esports players scored higher on social, competitive and skill development motivations for play than recreational players.
In both groups, escapism appeared to be the common predictor of gambling disorder. In the esport group, escapism was the only motivation that mediated, while in the recreational group, competition, fantasy and play. adaptation also showed a weak or even negative association with gambling disorder.
The way in which esports and recreational players escape reality into virtual worlds may be the result of different mechanisms and psychological contexts. In some esports players, the state of mental health (level of stress, psychosocial well-being, self-esteem) can modify the effect of the escape in the development of the gambling disorder.
Negative impact on the career of an esports player
“Escapism can lead to negative outcomes and interfere with an esports player’s career, just as any athlete’s career could end in physical injury or trauma,” noted Professor Demetrovics. “Future studies should focus on exploring the mechanism of escape in different subgroups of gamblers related to problem gambling to aid in the development of prevention, intervention and treatment programs.
Recognizing their risks can lead to increased supportive methods, such as mental training, optimal self-esteem, and adaptive coping strategies to competitive situations.” In addition, the results suggest that some esports players may be addicted to the game, such as professional poker players who are addicted to the game or professional athletes who are addicted to exercise.
The results of this study have implications for e-sport governing bodies. Analysts argue that there is arguably a duty of care for professional esports bodies to ensure that people who participate in sport, and subsequently develop problems, get help, support and support treatment if they need it.
“Although esports organizations like the Electronic Sports League have developed rigorous guidelines regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs, they should also develop a code of conduct that includes diagnostic tips and checklists regarding gambling problems and gambling disorders,” said Professor Demetrovics.
The number of professionally playing esports players has grown steadily since the early 2000s, and they are predominantly male. Esports players develop and train their mental and hand-eye coordination skills while using game-based information communication technology. According to a recent online survey, esports is a popular career option among adolescents and young adults (under 24).