The prevalence of gaming in the United States has increased dramatically in the last decade (Entertainment Software Association [ESA], 2019). Excessive gaming, however, has also become problematic, with negative effects on relationship development, emotional wellbeing, stress susceptibility and more (Kaess et al., 2017; Monacis et al., 2017; Griffiths, 2005). Excessive gaming or the pathological use of internet games is referred to as Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) (American Psychological Association [APA], 2013). While there is an abundance of research assessing the consequences of excessive gaming, there is still much left to discover about the etiology and development of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). Recently, the connection between attachment security and IGD has been increasingly explored, with several studies suggesting a positive correlation between insecure attachment and IGD (Eichenberg et al., 2017; Tavakoli et al., 2014; Benarous et al.,2019). This study sought to expand on the current literature by assessing the relationship between both attachment and stress susceptibility, and IGD and stress susceptibility. Additionally, a potential mediation model was also assessed. Participants (N = 423) completed self-report assessments regarding gaming addiction, attachment, perceived stress, trauma, and other demographics. Results indicated that significant differences between attachment groups on Internet gaming disorder scores (F (3,419) = 70.80, p < .001, w = .33), with the secure group (M=6.13, SD = 4.75) reporting the fewest IGD symptoms. Secure individuals (M=51.21, SD = 23.90) also reported significantly lower levels of perceived stress than insecure individuals, F (2,418) = 61.61, p < .001. A Tukey’s post-hoc analysis showed that the secure group differed significantly from the preoccupied group (p <.001), and the Anxious-Avoidant group (p <.001) but not the Dismissive group (p = ns.). IGDS scores were significantly associated with Attachment Anxiety (r = .63, p < .01), Attachment Avoidance (r = .26, p < .01), and ACE trauma scores (r = .69, p <.01). Lastly, a mediation analysis showed that while controlling for perceived stress, attachment type was still a significant predictor of gaming addiction scores, b = -3.17, SE = .72, consistent with partial mediation. The findings of this study indicate that attachment security, as well as stress, may have significant implications in the understanding of the development and etiology of gaming addiction. Further research is called for on the pathways through which attachment may influence gaming addiction and treatment of psychopathology.
A Plan B Research Project submitted to the faculty of the University of Minnesota by Imane Ait Daoud in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, April 2020.
Ait Daoud, Imane.
The Effect of Stress Susceptibility on the Relationship Between Attachment and Internet Gaming.
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