The Impact of Pandemic-Related Life Stress on Internet Gaming: Social Cynicism and Gaming Motivation as Serial Mediators

Elsie Yan*, Rong Wei Sun, Anise M. S. Wu, Daniel W. L. Lai, Vincent W. P. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A heightened interest in online gaming has emerged during COVID-19, and people have become increasingly vulnerable to internet gaming disorder (IGD). However, playing video games can also have a positive effect; gaming has been recognized as an efficient coping strategy. Currently, relatively little is understood about how online gaming can turn from an efficient coping strategy into an addiction disorder. This study investigated the mediating roles of social cynicism, escape and coping motives on the association between daily disruption during COVID-19 and IGD, seeking to reveal the underlying mechanism that influences the effects of gaming. A total of 203 participants in Hong Kong who reported having played electronic games during COVID-19 were surveyed. We conducted three hierarchical multiple regressions, then tested a serial mediation model using path analysis with structural equation modeling. The results revealed that escape motives significantly mediated the relationship between daily disruption related to COVID-19 and IGD, but no such effect was found for coping motives. Social cynicism alone was not a significant mediator, but social cynicism and escape motives in series mediated the relationship between daily disruption and IGD. These difference outcomes suggested different underlying mechanisms of escape and coping motives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8332
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • gaming motivation
  • internet gaming
  • life stress
  • social cynicism


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