Harmonious and obsessive involvement, self-esteem, and well-being. A longitudinal study on MMORPG players


Starting from the dualistic model of passion by Vallerand and colleagues (2003), this study aimed to identify “obsessive” and “harmonious” involvements in MMORPGs and to verify their relationships with players’ self-esteem and well-being. An international sample of 147 MMORPG players participated in a longitudinal design filling out for 3 times an online questionnaire measuring game involvement (in terms of Internet Gaming Disorder [IGD] symptoms, time spent playing the video game, sense of presence while playing, and avatar identification), global self-esteem, and well-being (i.e., meaningful life, engaged life, and pleasant life). Results supported the presence of these two different types of involvement: Obsessive involvement, characterized by a close association between IGD symptoms and playing time; Harmonious involvement, characterized by a close association between presence, avatar identification, and IGD symptoms. Cross-lagged effects showed that, over time, low self-esteem and low meaningful life predicted obsessive involvement, which in turn predicted engaged life. The present study contributes to a better understanding of the effects between video games use and the users’ self-esteem and well-being. Furthermore, it contributes to the theoretical debate about problematic involvement in videogames, also providing some indications about problematic gaming assessment and prevention.

Bibliographic citation

Sibilla, F., Musetti, A., & Mancini, T. (2021). Harmonious and obsessive involvement, self-esteem, and well-being. A longitudinal study on MMORPG players. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 15(3), Article 1. doi:https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-3-1


Game involvement; problematic gaming; Internet gaming disorder; well-being; self-esteem; MMORPGs

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