Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Welfare

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, x, 131 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Barry M Loneck

Committee Members

Blanca M Ramos, Seok Won Jin


DSM-5, escape theory, escapism, internet gaming disorder, tautology, Internet addiction, Internet games, Video games, Escape (Psychology), Mental illness

Subject Categories

Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychology | Social Work


Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has been included in the DSM-5 in a preliminary endorsement of excessive video gaming as a behavioral disorder. Further research is required to validate IGD because some criteria are controversial in diagnostic accuracy. Escapism is one such criterion. Despite some research evidence of escapism as the strongest motivational predictor of IGD, recent investigations found that the escapism criterion is highly questionable. Because of the inclusion of escapism in initial IGD measures, previous studies have produced evidence of escapism as a predictor of IGD owing to a tautology. Thus, the present study examined the effect of gaming motivations on IGD and tested the escape theory after ruling out the effect of the tautology. Using online and offline samples of young adults from the Korean Video Gaming Survey, five years of cross-sectional data were studied. To answer the research questions, the multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) model, multiple regression, and structural equation modeling were used in the primary analyses. A meta-analytic investigation summarized the analyses results from the ten datasets. The results dispute the previous understanding regarding escapism on IGD. First, escapism is not the strongest motivational factor predicting IGD, while a tautological model of escapism strengthens the association between the escape motive and IGD. Second, because the escape theory partially explains the paths to IGD, complementary theories, such as the tension reduction hypothesis and sensation-seeking theory, should be considered. In conclusion, the escapism criterion is not better than other motivations when screening for IGD and should be dropped or replaced with another criterion.