Self-Regulation as a Mediator of the Associations Between Passion for Video Games and Well-Being

Ethan Luxford, Selen Türkay, J. Frommel, Stephanie J. Tobin, Regan L. Mandryk, Jessica Formosa, Daniel J Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Video games can satisfy people's basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This may lead them to develop a passion for the activity, which can be harmonious or obsessive. These different types of passions are associated with different well-being outcomes: harmonious passion (HP) is associated with positive effects such as Satisfaction with Life (SWL), obsessive passion (OP) is associated with adverse effects such as psychological distress. Although time spent playing video games has sometimes been found to be a predictor of poor well-being, there is a lack of understanding in its role in explaining the relationship between passion and well-being compared with other factors. Self-regulation is an important factor in predicting habits, including video game play. In this cross-sectional study (N = 182), we investigated whether self-regulation or playtime better mediated the associations between different passion orientations and well-being (i.e., SWL, global subjective well-being, and psychological distress) among video game players. A path analysis revealed that people with higher HP for video games reported higher levels of self-regulation and those with higher OP for video games reported lower levels of self-regulation. Our findings also indicate that self-regulation provides a more comprehensive explanation for the relationship between passion and well-being. Overall, this study provides further support for the importance of self-regulation as a determinant of well-being in video game players rather than more arguably surface-level metrics such as time spent playing. These findings have implications for game developers and clinicians who design interventions for individuals who may experience unregulated video game play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-315
Number of pages6
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022


  • passion
  • self-regulation
  • video games
  • well-being


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