Exploring Differences among Video Gamers with and Without Depression: Contrasting Emotion Regulation and Mindfulness

Loredana A. Marchica, Devin J. Mills, Matthew T. Keough, Jeffrey L. Derevensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Video games are a leisure activity with mass appeal for individuals of all ages. However, for some individuals, playing video games may become problematic and addictive, resulting in negative consequences affecting their physical, social, and psychological well-being. Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has estimated prevalence rates of around 3 percent and has been strongly associated with several psychopathologies, including depression. Given that emotion regulation (ER) and mindfulness are fluid constructs that can be enhanced, the potential for intervention and prevention is considerable. Thus, this study sought to, as a first step in determining clinical relevance, explore the differences in ER, mindfulness, and impulsivity among emerging adult gamers who met criteria for IGD, depression, or both IGD and depression (Dep + IGD). A sample of 1,536 gamers (45 percent male, Mage = 20.45 years old) completed an online survey, including an assessment for IGD, depression, difficulties with ER, impulsivity, and mindfulness. Relative to individuals below IGD and depression cutoffs (control), the clinical groups (IGD, depression, and Dep + IGD) reported greater ER difficulties, higher impulsivity, and lower mindfulness. Finally, relative to the IGD + depression group, the other two clinical groups had fewer difficulties with cognitive impulsivity, whereas the depression group reported more difficulties with strategy use. These results suggest that gamers should be considered a heterogeneous group and that comorbid disorders are important considerations when developing targeted treatments for individuals with IGD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • depression
  • emerging adults
  • emotion regulation
  • internet gaming disorder
  • mindfulness


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