Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Alan King


With the rise in video game play, many experts have become concerned about negative consequences from game play, such as aggression, decreased academic performance, and even addiction. It has been very difficult to establish criteria for video game addiction or even to distinguish addicted gamers from recreational gamers. This relates to considerable conceptual overlap between the concepts of addiction and that of engagement or flow. Using multiple online questionnaires, this thesis examines the relationships between video game play habits over the life span, acute psychopathology, personality factors, and positive outcomes. Results indicate that the experience of flow during game play may serve as a critical predictor of gaming pathology and that flow should be included whenever trying to study and characterize gaming pathology. Results also indicate that no single factor predicts gaming pathology. Rather, an individual's gaming history, gaming experience, personality factors, and psychopathology all uniquely influence the possibility of gaming pathology. Also, there were significant differences between males and females for predictors of gaming pathology. For example, depressive symptoms were strongly predictive of gaming pathology for males while anxious symptoms were more predictive of gaming pathology for females. Ultimately, the interaction of a variety of factors relating to flow, psychopathology, and personality factors are each likely to contribute to the development of gaming pathology.