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Encephale. 2012 Dec;38(6):512-8. doi: 10.1016/j.encep.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

[Self-perception and life satisfaction in video game addiction in young adolescents (11-14 years old)].

[Article in French]

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Université de Provence, 29, avenue R.-Schuman, 13621 Aix-en-Provence cedex, France.



Video games are part of our society's major entertainments. This is now a global industry that covers the preferential activity of adolescents. But for some, the practice goes beyond a game and becomes an addictive functioning. Clinical practice is then faced with a new problem. It is important to understand the special bond that develops between a player and his/her video game in order to understand the addictive process.


The game consists of a virtual world, a graphical construction that is a simulation of reality and which reinvents the laws that govern it. It also consists of a character embodied by the player who controls it: the avatar. Through the virtual world and avatar, the game offers the player a virtual personification that matches his/her expectations and projected ideal. The avatar allows the subject to compensate, or even to modify some aspects of the Self and thus enhance his/her perception of him/herself; the virtual life become more satisfying than real life.


The aim of this research is to propose, from the study of the relationship between psychosocial variables (self-perception and life satisfaction) and the adolescent's practice of video games, elements of construction of an explanatory model of video gambling addiction.


The population of this research is composed of 74 adolescents aged 11-14 years (m(age)=12.78 and SD=0.921). Fourteen are identified as addicted to video games by the results of the Game Addiction Scale. The quantitative methodology allows measurement of the different psychosocial variables which appear important in the addictive process. The instruments used are: the Game Addiction Scale, the Self-Perception Profile and the Satisfaction with Life Scale.


The results show that adolescents addicted to video games see their virtual and current Self as being less proficient than other teenagers. Furthermore, teenagers addicted to video games see their virtual Self as more proficient and adapted to the environment than their current Self. Moreover, adolescents addicted perceive their lives as less satisfying than others'. Hence, virtual life is perceived as more satisfying than real life among teenagers addicted to video games. Finally, this virtual experience is thus one of the factors that explain the addiction to video games. Through the game, the teenager can "live" a new version of him/herself, becoming secondarily alienating. The virtual world supplants real life and becomes the source of a clash of identity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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