Nick Bowman, associate professor of communications, co-authored the paper “Covariation among gaming motivations is correlated with anxiety and sociality: A latent class analysis,” with Chingching Chang of Academia Sinica. The paper was published in Entertainment Computing.
Understanding what motivates adolescents to play video games is a central pursuit of game scholars, and key to better understanding gaming uses and effects. A latent class analysis on the self-reported gaming motivations of a nationally representative sample of adolescent gamers revealed broader combinations of discrete gaming motivations understood as role-players, fun-seekers, social gamers, and gaming maximizers (further validated through an investigation of gaming genre preferences within each class). Moreover, classification into these categories was influenced by levels of self-reported anxiety (a psychological factor) and sociality (social factors): anxiety levels distinguished gaming maximizers and role-players (higher levels) from social gamers and fun-seekers, and social connectedness unsurprisingly distinguished social gamers (higher levels) from fun-seekers and gaming maximizers from role-players (lower levels). A potential hierarchal model of anxiety and socializing on gaming motivations is suggested, and broader implications for studying gaming motivations are discussed.