44% of World of Warcraft players say that they are addicted to the game - TechAddiction

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Study: 44% of World of Warcraft players say that they are addicted to the game

By Dr. Brent Conrad

Much has been written about video game addiction. Definitions have been proposed, computer gaming habits have been studied, and mental health professionals have offered theories on why some people seem to become obsessed with video games.

However, few researchers have asked actual gamers what they think about computer and video game addiction.

A study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction began with two questions:

1. What do actual World of Warcraft players have to say about the concept of video game addiction?

2. What percentage of these players believe that they are addicted to WoW?

In the study, researchers surveyed 438 active WoW players in the United States and Canada (18 and older) via an anonymous online questionnaire. The primary goal was to assess how gamers themselves would define video game addiction and whether they see themselves as being addicted.

The participants completed a questionnaire which asked about demographic characteristics, number of hours spent playing video games each day, types of games typically played, and their views on the signs of computer game addiction. They also completed a modified version of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) which focused on the use of computer games.

Survey findings:

  • The average time spent using computers per day was 8 hours, including 5.5 hours spent playing video games

  • 73% of participants had IAT scores which fell in the range of “frequent problems, may be developing an addiction”

  • 6% of participants had IAT scores in the highest risk category “most likely have or are developing an addiction”

  • 44% of WoW gamers stated that they were addicted to computer games

  • 62% of WoW gamers believe that an addiction involves letting the game interfere with other important activities such as school, work, or socializing

  • 40% of players believe that video game addiction involves playing or thinking about the game a lot, craving it when not playing, scheduling other activities around computer games, and the game being the central activity in a person’s life

  • The average number of hours gamers thought would represent an addiction was 8 per day (although this number ranged from 2 to 18)

  • 11% believe that video game addiction would involve constantly thinking about a particular game

  • 9% state that constantly craving a game or a desire to play at every opportunity would suggest addiction

  • 3% believe that an addition to computer games would involve excluding other activities from one’s life in favor of gaming

  • 12% believe that computer game addiction involves playing to alter or improve one’s mood or to escape real world problems

  • 10% believe that video game addiction involves an inability to stop playing, take breaks, or quit playing entirely

  • 1% believe that computer game addiction involves continued playing regardless f guilt, regret, or boredom

Quotes from participants:

“Doing an all-nighter to get a goal on a video game seems to be addicting”

“I guess the behavior I would have to see in myself to be considered addicted to video games would be myself running home juts to catch a raid”

“Whenever I am depressed or wanting to escape from the real world into something I can manage and control is when I will resort to playing video games. That is addiction in that some aspects of life are undesirable and the only true escape is to escape to another world where you are something else and can enjoy the sense of fantasy that can exist only in those imaginary worlds.”

“I only video game I got addicted to was WoW because of my dedication to my guild.”

“I don’t look forward to any prolonged time away from my online friends, even to spend time with friends I have in real life.”

“I feel like I can’t really stop playing the game. It’s become more like an occupation or obligation than something optional at the end of the day if I have time.”

“Amazingly, not playing Warcraft for a few days can send me into withdrawal, similar to my old vice, caffeine addiction.”

“Not wanting to spend time with my friends or family would make me wonder if I was really addicted.”

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