Escapism Predicts Gaming Disorder Among eSport and Recreational Players Interview with:
Zsolt Demetrovics PhD and Orsolya Király PhD
Department of Clinical Psychology and Addiction
Institute of Psychology
ELTE Eötvös Loránd University What is the background for this study?

Response: Gaming disorder has recently been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a mental disorder. Research examining gaming motivations and mental health among video gamers and in relation with gaming disorder is increasing but different types of gamers such as recreational gamers and esport gamers are not commonly distinguished.

Esport is form of electronic sport and refers to playing video games in a professional (competitive) manner in sports-like tournaments. Much like in the case of traditional sports, esport players and teams are sponsored, tournaments are broadcasted and followed by large audiences and have large financial prizes. Therefore, being an esports player in now a real career opportunity for teenagers and young adults who like playing video games. What are the main findings?

Response: The present study compared recreational and esport gamers in terms of time spent playing video games, gaming motivations, severity of gaming disorder, and psychiatric symptoms such as depressive symptoms, anxiety. Additionally, the mediating effect of gaming motivations between psychiatric distress and gaming disorder was examined and compared in the two groups.

Results showed that esport gamers spent significantly more time playing video games, and had higher scores on social, competition, and skill development gaming motivations than recreational gamers.

Moreover, results showed that escapism (i.e., gaming excessively to avoid real life problems) was the motivation that mediated between the higher levels of psychiatric symptoms and gaming disorder and this finding was the same among recreational and esport players. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Gamers who play video games in a professional manner (esport gamers) have different motivations than recreational gamers. They score higher on social, competition, and skill development motivations and also spend considerably more time playing video games than recreational gamers.

Escapism motive appears to be the common predictor of gaming disorder among both esport and recreational gamers and the motive most strongly associated with psychiatric symptoms. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies should explore the psychological mechanism of escapism in more details and its relation to gaming disorder in different subgroups of gamers to help the development of prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. Furthermore, the central question whether esport gamers are at higher risk in developing gaming disorder compared to recreational gamers also needs more research until a reliable answer is obtained. 

There are no disclosures to report.


Fanni Bányai, Mark D. Griffiths, Zsolt Demetrovics, Orsolya Király. The mediating effect of motivations between psychiatric distress and gaming disorder among esport gamers and recreational gamers. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 2019; 94: 152117 DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2019.152117



We respect your privacy and will never share your details.

Last Modified: Oct 29, 2019 @ 10:56 am


The information on is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.