A1 Journal article (refereed)
Escapism and Excessive Online Behaviors : A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study in Finland during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2022)

Jouhki, H., Savolainen, I., Sirola, A., & Oksanen, A. (2022). Escapism and Excessive Online Behaviors : A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study in Finland during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(19), Article 12491. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912491

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Jouhki, Hannu; Savolainen, Iina; Sirola, Anu; Oksanen, Atte

Journal or series: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

ISSN: 1661-7827

eISSN: 1660-4601

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 30/09/2022

Volume: 19

Issue number: 19

Article number: 12491

Publisher: MDPI AG

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912491

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83501


Excessive online behaviors refer to harmful or disproportionate use of digital network applications. Such behaviors are likely to be associated with escapist motives. Our aim was to analyze whether escapism predicts excessive gambling, excessive gaming, and excessive internet use over time. A longitudinal sample of Finnish residents aged 18–75 years (n = 1022, 51.27% male) was surveyed at three time points during the COVID-19 pandemic in 6-month intervals: April 2021 (Time 1), October–November 2021 (Time 2), and April–May 2022 (Time 3). Of the original Time 1 respondents, 66.80% took part in the surveys at both Time 2 and Time 3. All surveys included measures for excessive gambling (Problem Gambling Severity Index), excessive gaming (Internet Gaming Disorder Test), and excessive internet use (Compulsive Internet Use Scale). Three escapism-specific questions were used to construct a dedicated escapism variable. Socio-demographic variables, alcohol consumption, and psychological distress were used as controls. The study was conducted with multilevel regression analyses using hybrid models. Our research showed that escapism had strong within-person effects on excessive gambling, B = 0.18, p = 0.003; excessive gaming, B = 0.50, p < 0.001; and excessive internet use, B = 0.77, p < 0.001 over time. The between-person effect of escapism was demonstrated on excessive gaming B = 0.91, p < 0.001, and excessive internet use B = 0.61, p = 0.036. Adverse societal events and uncertain times can manifest in excessive online behaviors motivated by escapism, highlighting a need to focus prevention efforts on healthy coping methods.

Keywords: escapism; addiction; gambling games; compulsive gambling; Internet; online games

Free keywords: escapism; addiction; excessive behaviors; internet use; gambling; gaming

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-30-08 at 08:57