The survey data presented here sheds light on these two questions: 1) What about MMORPGs and their players lead to problematic usage? and 2) Is there a dominant pathway to problematic usage? And I have another trick up my sleeve. I can answer these two questions without ever having to categorize players as problematic users or not. Here's what I did. I drew from existing measures of online problematic usage that centered on dependence, withdrawal and negative impact on real life obligations and relationships. The survey items used were:
• Do you spend more time than you think you should playing the game?A factor analysis showed that all these items loaded onto a single factor implying that they are measuring the same underlying construct. A problematic usage score was calculated for every respondent based on a weighted sum of their responses to the items. I then ran a multiple regression with the motivation components, gender, age and hours played per week as the predictors. The multiple regression was significant at p < .001 with an adjusted R-square of .33 (a good model with strong predictors). The best predictor of problematic usage was the escapism subcomponent (Beta = .31, p < .001), followed by hours played per week (Beta = .27, p < .001) and then the advancement subcomponent (Beta = .18, p < .001).
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