Attachment disorganization and dissociation in virtual worlds

Clinical Neuropsychiatry (2012) 9, 5, 195-202

Pubblicato il 30/01/2013

Attachment disorganization and dissociation in virtual worlds:
a study on problematic internet use
among players of online role playing games

Autori: Adriano Schimmenti, Fanny Guglielmucci, Ghiara Barbasio, Antonella Granieri


Dipendenza da internet Tonino CantelmiObjective: internet addiction was linked both theoretically and empirically with attachment insecurity and dissociation; however, there is a lack of studies exploring the associations between attachment disorganization, dissociation, and problematic internet use.
Method: in this study, an internet-based survey administered by means of the internet Addiction test (iAt) was conducted among the players of an italian multi-user dungeon in order to select a subsample of people who showed significant symptoms of Internet abuse. Among the 250 cases eligible for data analysis, 36 players (13.5%) scored above the iAt cut-off for a problematic internet use. these players were contacted for a second phase of the study in which they were administered the Adult Attachment interview and the revised dissociative experience scale.
Results and Conclusions: There was a high prevalence of attachment disorganization (47%) among these players; they also reported significant dissociative experiences. A mediation study showed that dissociation mediated the effect of attachment disorganization on the internet addiction scores, thus supporting the idea that people higly involved with the internet role-playing games can use dissociation to protect the self from memories of loss, neglect and abuse experienced in the attachment relationships.

Key words: internet addiction, attachment disorganization, dissociation, Adult Attachment interview, online role- playing games

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