Escaping into a simulated environment: A preliminary investigation into how MMORPGs are used to cope with real life stressors

Lorelle Bowditch, Anjum Naweed, Janine Chapman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms underlying Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) are complex, and in order to gain a better understanding of the pathways to IGD a broader investigation of the social context and life environment of gamers is important. Little is understood about the real-life experiences of gamers who use internet gaming for relief from real-life problems. This study aimed to explore the types of external stressors internet gamers experience, and the ways in which internet gaming is used to cope with these stressors. As part of a larger psychosocial survey, adult World of Warcraft (WoW) players (N = 217) were asked for comments about a stressful event. Of this sample, 46 participants mentioned WoW in their response. Content analysis was used to analyse key themes relating to external stressors that led players to engage in WoW gameplay. Key themes of real-life stress; health issues; financial problems; and, family and social problems emerged. These findings showed the variety of external stressors that can lead an individual to be motivated to escape through MMORPG play. This study adds to our understanding of the relationship between gamers and video games, specifically in times of stress. Future investigation should examine links to gaming outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections in Simulation and Gaming
Subtitle of host publicationDisruption and Balance - 3rd Australasian Simulation Congress, ASC 2019, Proceedings
EditorsAnjum Naweed, Lorelle Bowditch, Cyle Sprick
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789813295827
ISBN (Print)9789813295810
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event3rd Australasian Simulation Congress, ASC 2019 - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 2 Sep 20195 Sep 2019

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference3rd Australasian Simulation Congress, ASC 2019
CityGold Coast


  • Coping
  • Escapism
  • Internet Gaming Disorder


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