Psychological needs, purpose in life, and problem video game playing among Chinese young adults

Anise M. S. Wu, Lamis L. M. Lei, Lisbeth Ku
Published Online:
16 Apr 2012
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 48 Issue 4

Additional Options

The negative impacts of excessive and problematic video game playing on both children and adults are attracting increasing concern. Based on self‐determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000), this study hypothesized that the three basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness are positively associated with purpose in life, which in turn acts as a protective factor against problem video game playing among Chinese young adult players. Through a questionnaire survey with a sample of 165 Chinese adults aged between 18 and 30 years (mean age = 22.7 years), we found that perceived autonomy, competence, relatedness, and purpose in life were all negatively correlated with problem game playing. The demographic and psychological factors explained 38% of the variances of problem game playing. Specifically, gender, perceived relatedness, and purpose in life emerged as the three most salient predictors of problem game playing among the Chinese young adults. The mediating role of purpose in life was evidenced and it was found that purpose in life mediated the influences of the psychological needs proposed by SDT on problem game playing. Moreover, young men were significantly more susceptible to problem game playing than their female counterparts. To conclude, psychological needs and purpose in life influenced Chinese young adults’ vulnerability to problem game playing directly or indirectly. Intervention programs that encourage social involvement and voluntary work, as well as counseling service that helps clients to search for life purpose, are suggested for intervening in problem game playing among Chinese young adults.

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