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Psychiatry Investig. 2016 May;13(3):297-304. doi: 10.4306/pi.2016.13.3.297. Epub 2016 May 18.

Correlations among Social Anxiety, Self-Esteem, Impulsivity, and Game Genre in Patients with Problematic Online Game Playing.

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Department of Psychiatry, Chung Ang University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Uimyung Research Institute for Neuroscience, Samyook University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Recent studies of online game addiction have suggested that social interaction and impulsivity are critical factors for the etiology and progress of online game addiction. We hypothesized that the genre of the online game is associated with impulsivity and sociality in individuals with online game addictions.


In total, 212 patients with problematic online game playing were divided into four groups by game genre: 1) massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), 2) real-time strategy (RTS), 3) first-person shooter (FPS), and 4) other. Their symptoms and characteristics were assessed using 8 scales and 2 tests to estimate self-esteem, impulsiveness, comorbidity, social interaction status, and cognitive function.


The mean social anxiety score was highest in the MMORPG group and lowest in the FPS group. The mean self-esteem score was highest in the RTS group. Social anxiety score was positively correlated with Internet addiction score in the MMORPG group, and the self-esteem score was positively correlated with Internet addiction score in the RTS group.


The genre of online game was not associated with impulsivity, but social anxiety status varied significantly with game genre, and differences in social anxiety were especially pronounced in patients playing the MMORPG (highest social anxiety) and FPS (lowest social anxiety) game genres. In addition, self-esteem was highest in the RTS game genre.


Impulsivity; Online game addiction; Online game genre; Self-esteem; Social anxiety

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