Gender Moderates the Partial Mediation of Impulsivity in the Relationship Between Psychiatric Distress and Problematic Online Gaming: Online Survey (2019)

JMIR Ment Health. 2019 Mar 19;6(3):e10784. doi: 10.2196/10784.

Su W1, Király O2, Demetrovics Z#2, Potenza MN#3,4,5,6,7.



Research has shown that some individuals can develop problematic patterns of online gaming, leading to significant psychological and interpersonal problems. Psychiatric distress and impulsivity have been suggested to contribute to problematic online gaming (POG).


This study aimed to investigate the potential mediating or moderating mechanisms of impulsivity and gender-related differences in possible associations between psychiatric distress and POG.


A total of 596 matched female and male participants, ranging in age from 14 to 38 years (mean 21.4, SD 4.5), were chosen from a large cross-sectional, nationwide Hungarian online gaming sample. Participants completed online questionnaires about self-reported impulsivity, psychiatric distress, and POG.


Psychiatric distress directly predicted POG, and impulsivity partially mediated the relationship between psychiatric distress and POG. However, this mediation effect was found only for the impatience factor of impulsivity. Impulsivity did not moderate the relationship between psychiatric distress and POG. A moderating effect of gender was not found in the direct relationship between psychiatric distress and POG. However, a moderated mediation analysis revealed that impatience mediated the association between psychiatric distress and POG in males, whereas the indirect effect of impatience was not significant in females.


The results of this work highlight gender-related difference among online gamers in the mediation effect of impulsivity between psychiatric distress and POG and provide novel insights regarding clinical implications for preventing or treating POG.


addictive behavior; gender; impulsivity; internet; psychopathology; video games

PMID: 30888322

DOI: 10.2196/10784