As the vast majority of online videogames imply the immersion into an alternative reality where a virtual body is also involved, the current cross-sectional study aims to investigate the contribution of low body awareness (i.e. low attention to sensory cues indicating bodily state) and body dissociation (i.e. low emotional connection with one’s own body) in predicting Internet gaming disorder (IGD) symptoms, after controlling for internalizing (i.e., depression, anxiety, and stress) and externalizing symptoms (i.e., aggression). A total of 370 online-game players (73% men; mean age 29.63 ± 7.64 years) recruited in online player communities took part in the study and were given a survey that included gaming characteristics, the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale -21, the Aggression Questionnaire, the Body Disconnection Scale, and the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale- Short Form. A hierarchical regression analysis showed that low body awareness and high body dissociation predicted IGD scores after controlling for all the other factors. Moreover, we found an interaction effect between physical aggression and body dissociation in predicting IGD scores. On the one hand, these results provide support to previous studies that stressed the potential association between dissociative detachment (in terms of bodily disconnections) and problematic videogaming; on the other hand, the current study provides first evidence of the opportunity to focus on the integration of bodily experiences in clinical practice with people suffering from problematic gaming, as this factor might be incisively related to their aggressive and internalizing symptoms.
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