How do passion for video games and needs frustration explain time spent gaming?

Devin J. Mills, Marina Milyavskaya, Jessica Mettler, Nancy L. Heath, Jeffrey L. Derevensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Research applying self-determination theory and the dualistic model of passion (DMP) has shown video games may satisfy basic psychological needs (i.e., competence, autonomy, and relatedness) and be identified as a passion. The DMP distinguishes between healthy or harmonious passion and problematic or obsessive passion (OP), with the latter reflecting an overreliance towards one's passion to obtain needs satisfaction. The experience of daily obstructions to needs satisfaction, or needs frustration (NF), may facilitate such an overreliance. This study explored how NF and both types of passion explain the amount of time that university students spend gaming. The overall association between NF and time spent gaming was not significant. However, for video game users with low levels of OP for gaming, there was a significant negative association between NF and time spent gaming. Additionally, evidence of a mutually reinforcing association between NF and OP for gaming indicates that a vicious cycle exists, whereby a strong OP for gaming predicts and is reinforced by greater NF. The theoretical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-481
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • basic psychological need frustration
  • dualistic model of passion
  • gaming disorder
  • self-determination theory


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