Psychiatry Res. 2018 Dec 29;272:521-530. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.158.
The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between alexithymia and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) (while controlling for depression and anxiety), explore the presence of gender differences, and the potential differences between MOBA and MMORPG gamers. A total of 429 young adults (mean age 20.7 years) recruited from different forums dedicated to video games took part in the study and filled a questionnaire including type of video game use, the Game Addiction Scale, the TAS-20 (evaluating alexithymia) and the HADS (evaluation anxiety and depression). In the whole sample, being alexithymic, depression scores, and anxiety scores were associated with IGD. Nevertheless, results differed depending on gender and type of games played. In male gamers, being alexithymic, being young, and having high anxiety and depression scores was associated with IGD. In female gamers, having less than a high school education and a high depression score was associated with IGD. In MOBA gamers, only the difficulty describing feelings factor was associated with IGD while in MMORPGs gamers, graduation from high school and anxiety scores were associated with IGD. Playing MOBA games could be a strategy to regulate emotions while playing MMORPG appears to be a maladaptive coping strategy to deal with negative affective disturbances. Gender and gaming type are important factors in the relationship between alexithymia, depression, anxiety and IGD. These results have some interesting clinical implications, which are discussed.
KEYWORDS: Alexithymia; Anxiety; Depression; Gaming type; Gender; Internet gaming disorder