Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Brian Dew

Second Advisor

Greg Brack

Third Advisor

Catherine Cadenhead

Fourth Advisor

Steve Harmon


Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are a popular type of online video game. While these games and their players have been studied previously, there is gap in the literature that examines the relationship between one’s motivation to play MMOGs and loneliness, depression, and problematic use. For this study, 440 players of World of Warcraft (WoW), a popular MMOG, completed a demographics questionnaire and four measures, including Williams, Yee, & Caplan’s (2008) motivation measure, Peter’s & Malesky’s (2008) World of Warcraft-specific Problematic Usage-Engagement Questionnaire, UCLA’s Loneliness scale, and The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. Results from quantitative analyses suggest that MMO players who are motivated to play for reasons of achievement and immersion are more likely to experience problematic use than those persons who play for social motivations. Loneliness and depression were only positively related with immersion motivated players, and there exists a significant negative relationship between social motivation and depression. These results suggest that gamers who play WoW for immersive reasons are the most at-risk in comparison to their peers. Implications for counseling, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.