Game type as a moderator of the relationship between pathological video game use, impulsivity, aggression, and general psychopathology Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous research has established that Pathological Video Game Use (PVGU) is related to various psychosocial variables such as impulsivity, aggression, and other forms of psychopathology. However, not much is known about whether the genre of video game played most often by the gamer influences the aforementioned relationships. The purpose of the current study is to expand upon our knowledge by investigating the role of preference for particular genres of video games, either Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) or First Person Shooters (FPS) for the current study, as a moderator of the relationship between symptoms of PVGU and levels of impulsivity, levels of aggression, and reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. 932 undergraduate students recruited through Iowa State Universitys undergraduate research management system filled out measures querying media use behaviors, symptoms of PVGU, impulsivity, aggression, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Results of regression analyses revealed that participants who endorsed more symptoms of PVGU also reported increased levels of impulsivity measured via the BIS-11 [R2 = .033, F(2,871) = 15.066, p = .000], increased levels of aggression [R2 = .101, F(3,872) = 32.498, p = .000], greater number of symptoms of depression [R2 = .028, F(2,869) = 19.343, p = .000], increased levels of state anxiety [R2 = .028), F(2,861) = 12.547, p = .000], and increased levels of trait anxiety [R2 = .040, F(2,860) = 17.827, p = .000]. Follow-up moderator regression analyses revealed that video game genre did not moderate the aforementioned relationships between PVGU and psychosocial outcome variables. In conclusion, those who endorsed a greater number of symptoms of PVGU also reported increased levels of impulsivity, aggression, symptoms of depression, and levels of both state and trait anxiety. However, these relationships were not moderated by preference for video game genre, suggesting that these relationships occur regardless of genre preference.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Saint Sferra, M., Fields, S., & Gentile, D.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Saint Sferra, Michale||Fields, S||Gentile, Douglas

publication date

  • February 2017