Dr Zaheer Hussain

Research and Teaching Blog

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Addictions and Motivations for MMORPG use

My latest research study on addiction and motivations for MMORPG use has been published in the Computers in Human Behavior journal. The link below provides you with access to the research article until June 9, 2015.


Full reference:

Hussain, Z., Williams, G.A. & Griffiths, M.D. (2015). An Exploratory of the Association between Online Gaming Addiction and Enjoyment Motivations for Playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. Computers in Human Behavior, 50, 221-230.

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The 2nd International Conference on Behavioral Addictions, Budapest 2015.

Here is the abstract for the paper I presented at the 2nd International Conference on Behavioral Addictions, Budapest 2015.

Online Gaming Addiction and Motivations: Psychological links, assessment and treatment.  

Zaheer Hussain, Glenn Williams & Mark Griffiths.

Email: z.hussain@derby.ac.uk

Background and Aims: The ever increasing popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) provides an important context for examining addiction. The present paper will discuss research findings of two studies investigating the psychological effects of online gaming and factors relating to online gaming addiction and motivations.

Methods: Study 1: A self-selecting sample of 119 online gamers ranging from 18 to 69 years (mean = 28.5 years) completed an online survey. Study 2: A sample of 1,167 gamers ranging from 12 years to 62 years (M = 23.5 years) completed an online survey.

Results: Study 1: Results showed that 41% of gamers played online to escape and 7% of gamers were classified as ‘dependent’ individuals who were at risk of developing a psychological dependence for online gaming. Excessive online gaming was significantly correlated with psychological and behavioural ‘dependence’. Study 2: Latent Class Analysis revealed five classes of gaming addiction-related experiences: (1) high risk of addiction, (2) time-affected, (3) intermediate risk of addiction, (4) emotional control, and (5) low risk of addiction classes. Membership of the high risk of addiction class was significantly predicted by belonging to a highly social and competitive class, a novelty class, or an aggressive, anti-social, and non-curious class.

Conclusions: Examining gaming addiction along a continuum of addictive-like experiences and the extent to which these experiences can be triggered by certain motivations to play are important. The implications of these findings for assessment and treatment of online gaming addiction and potentially new addictions are discussed.

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Data for sale: Data tracking is a common practice

According to a study conducted by the university of Oxford as covered by Wired Magazine – ‘My Identity for Sale’ (http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2014/11/features/my-identity-for-sale), it’s very easy to identify individuals even when data is anonymised. De-anonymising is even easier when the data is merged with other databases (e.g., purchasing).

The article states that companies are selling your data to others, who then merge the data with other mega-databases thereby identifying you individually and revealing enormous information about your life.

This is all happening quietly without fully informing the public amidst a context of data being lost, sold, combined with other data, and the abuse of the publics right of privacy.

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Smartphone use Media Coverage 2015

It’s been a busy 10 days with a lot of calls and emails regarding my research study. Here are some links to the international media coverage regarding my recent research paper on Smartphone use, Addiction, Narcissism and Personality;

The Guardian: http://bit.ly/1M9sYEO
Yahoo News (India): http://bit.ly/18WncrX
Wired (Deutsch): http://bit.ly/1BVzmhv
Dublin News: http://bit.ly/1ElbmVs
Business Standard: http://bit.ly/17Xu7jC
The New Indian Express: http://bit.ly/1wZL976
Thai Tech: http://bit.ly/1Not2C7
Shiny Shiny: http://bit.ly/1CFDPEV
NDTV.com: http://bit.ly/1ESDPAQ
The Times of India: http://bit.ly/1GpBCys
Deccan Herald: http://bit.ly/1BNwy4z
Guardian Liberty Voice: http://bit.ly/1A395HI
Hindustan Times: http://bit.ly/1Kwf6qR
Mashable: http://on.mash.to/1x8fIYl
ITV Good Morning Britain: http://bit.ly/1DY5Xkr
ITV News: http://bit.ly/1DOQErE
BBC East Midlands Today: http://bbc.in/1B9Bv5P (clip starts at 08:40)
iDigital Times: http://bit.ly/1zNg7PZ
Geek Wire: http://bit.ly/1BTJ188
Metro (Poland): http://bit.ly/1aMoDdb

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Smartphone Use, Addiction, Narcissism and Personality

My latest research paper has recently been published. It’s the first UK-based study on smartphone use and related psychological characteristics. More information below;


There are increasing numbers of people who are now using smartphones. Consequently, there is a risk of addiction to certain web applications such as social networking sites (SNSs) which are easily accessible via smartphones. There is also the risk of an increase in narcissism amongst users of SNSs. The present study set out to investigate the relationship between smartphone use, narcissistic tendencies and personality as predictors of smartphone addiction. The study also aimed to investigate the distinction between addiction specificity and co-occurrence in smartphone addiction via qualitative data and discover why people continue to use smartphones in banned areas. A self-selected sample of 256 smartphone users (Mean age = 29.2, SD = 9.49) completed an online survey. The results revealed that 13.3% of the sample was classified as addicted to smartphones. Higher narcissism scores and neuroticism levels were linked to addiction. Three themes of; social relations, smartphone dependence and self-serving personalities emerged from the qualitative data. Interpretation of qualitative data supports addiction specificity of the smartphone. It is suggested smartphones encourage narcissism, even in non-narcissistic users. In turn, this increased use in banned areas. Future research needs to gather more in-depth qualitative data, addiction scale comparisons and comparison of use with and without SNS access. It is advised that prospective buyers of smartphones be pre-warned of the potential addictive properties of new technology.

Full reference;

Pearson, C. & Hussain, Z. (2015). Smartphone Use, Addiction, Narcissism, and Personality: A Mixed Methods Investigation. The International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 5(1), 17-32.

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A Qualitative Analysis of Online Gaming: Social Interaction, Community, and Game Design

My latest article has now been published in the International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning;

The popularity of Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) has risen dramatically over the last decade. Some gamers spend many hours a day in these virtual environments interacting with other gamers, completing quests, and forming social groups. The present study set out to explore the experi­ences and feelings of online gamers. The study comprised 71 interviews with online gamers (52 males and 19 females) from 11 different countries. Many themes emerged from the analyses of the interview transcripts including (i) engaging in social interaction, (ii) being part of a community, (iii) learning real-life skills, (iv) gaining in-game rewards, (v) playing never-ending games (vi) escaping from real life, (vii) playing longer than intended, and (viii) being obligated towards other gamers in-game. These findings specifically showed the many positives of online gaming (including the social interaction and the community aspects of belonging) as well as the in-game features within MMORPGs that in some cases can lead to excessive online gaming. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to previous qualitative and quantitative research in the area.


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