The Relationship between Loneliness and Game Preferences of
Secondary School Students
Mehmet Fatih Erkoç, Feridun Özçakir, Çiğdem Erkoç
1Yıldız Technical University Education Faculty, 2Okan University School of Applied Sciences,
3Yenibosna Fatih Secondary School
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer and video games have become a popular form of entertainment among adolescents and
adults. Day by day, the numbers of computer and video game players have increased significantly.
According to the “2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry” report released
by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) in April 2014, total consumer spend on game
industry has been $21.53 billion dollars in 2013. Recently, many researchers concentrate on the more
negative aspects such as excessive play and addiction of adolescents’ computer game playing.
However, the loneliness has been found to be one of the essential predictor of game addiction. The
purpose of the current study was to determine the relationship between the loneliness level and game
preferences of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. To accomplish this purpose, survey method was
used and the data were obtained by a game playing habits and preferences questionnaire and
loneliness scale. The participants of the study consist of 843 secondary school students, ranged from
11 to 14 years, in Istanbul, Turkey. The analyses of obtained data were presented and discussed at
the results and conclusion section of the study.
For least 30 years, computer and video games have increasingly become popular form of
entertainment and have replaced more traditional games as leisure activities among adolescents and
adults. Today’s computer and video games are enjoyed by players all ages and backgrounds, and
they spend a good part of their leisure time on playing computer games. Day by day, the numbers of
computer and video game players have increased significantly. According to the “2014 Essential Facts
About the Computer and Video Game Industry” report released by the Entertainment Software
Association (ESA) in April 2014, %59 of Americans play video games, the average years of game
players are 31, the average number of years gamers have been playing video games are 14, %77 of
gamers play with others at least one hour per week, and total consumer spend on game industry has
been $21.53 billion dollars in 2013 .
Too much time spent on game play certainly cause problems in other daily life activities and results in
negative outcomes. Given the increasing sales of computer and video games and the popularity of this
medium among adolescents and adults, policy makers, scholars and the general public have
expressed concern that some players may present with pathological patterns of video game use that
interfere with life functioning . Recently, many researchers concentrate on the more negative
aspects such as excessive play and addiction of adolescents’ computer game playing. In the last
decade, there is a significant increase in the number of studies examining various aspects of
problematic computer and video game play    and addiction   .
In results of many researches, negative outcomes were found for health related aspects, such as
problematic sleep patterns , or lower psychosocial wellbeing , as well as personal function
indicated lower academic achievement . However, the loneliness, which is one of the important
subcategories of internet addiction and a predictor of pathological internet use  , has been found to
be one of the essential predictor of game addiction  . Amichai-Hamburger and Ben-Artzi (2003),
in their descriptive study, aimed to examine the relationship between extroversion, neuroticism,
differential Internet use, and loneliness. They conducted a survey, with 85 participants drawn from the
departments of Psychology, for determining the relationship between frequency of Internet usage and
loneliness level and anxiety, distress, and emotional liability. Their results indicate that for men, the
use of Internet services is not related either to loneliness, neuroticism, or extraversion. However, for
women, loneliness is significantly related to both neuroticism and the use of social services in the
Internet . In another study Stetina, Kothgassner, Lehenbauer, and Kryspin-Exner (2011), aimed to
examine problematic gaming behavior and depressive tendencies among people who play different
types of online-games. Their research addresses often discussed fundamental questions regarding
problematic gaming behavior, depression and self-esteem of online-gamers. Results of their research
indicate that MMORPG users show more often problematic gaming behavior, depressive tendencies
and lower self-esteem compared to users playing other online-games . In the literature, a majority
of studies on determining the predictors of problematic game playing and game addiction focused the
online game playing habits of college students or adults. Little has been researched about the
relationship between preferences and habits of secondary school students and psychological
loneliness characteristic. For these reasons, this study was aimed to determine the relationship
between the loneliness level and game preferences of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. In this
study following research questions will attempt to answer;
Is there any relevance between time spent to game playing per week and loneliness level of
secondary school graders?
Is there any relevance between how many years they have spent on playing computer game
and loneliness level of secondary school graders?
Is there any significant difference between gender and loneliness level of secondary school
The purpose of the current study was to determine the relationship between the loneliness level and
game preferences of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. To accomplish this purpose, survey
method was used and the data were obtained by a game playing habits and preferences
questionnaire and loneliness scale.
The participants in this study were 843 individuals, 462 (54.8%) males and 381 females (45.2%), from
two different secondary schools in two districts in Istanbul. The distribution of participants were
following; 330 of them 5th grade (39.1%), 261 of them 6th grade (31.0%), 158 of them 7th grade
(18.7%), and 94 of them 8th grade (11.2%) students. A total of 950 survey delivered by researcher in
two school, 872 students completed this survey with a response rate of 91.8%, but 29 participants
were removed from the data analysis due to large amounts of missing data. Participants were mostly
around the age of 11-14 years old.
2.2 Data collection tools
Student Information and Game Preferences Survey: A personal information and game preferences
survey, which contains questions about children’s grade, gender, computer game experiences,
preferences of computer games, time for spending playing games per week, was prepared by
researchers in order to determine children’s game playing characteristics.
School-Based Loneliness Scale for Children (SLSC): SLSC was developed by Asher, Hymel and
Renshaw in 1984  and revised by Asher and Wheeler in 1985  and it has been adapted to the
Turkish by Kaya in 2005 . The original scale consists of 24 items, assessing children's feelings of
loneliness and social dissatisfaction, and all items were rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale from
“Always true for me (scored 5)” to “That’s not true for me (scored 1)”. In the original scale result was
found to be internally consistent (Cronbach's a = .90) and internally reliable (split-half correlation
between forms = .83; Spearman-Brown reliability coefficient = .91; Guttman split-half reliability
coefficient - .91).
2.3 Analysis of collected data
The SPSS version 22.0 package software was used for analyzing collected data via “Student
Information and Game Preferences Survey” and “School-Based Loneliness Scale for Children”. The t-
test was used to determine the significant difference between gender and loneliness level of students,
and Pearson correlation analysis was conducted to determine the relevance between time spent to
game playing per week and how many years they have spent on playing computer game and
In order to investigate whether relevance between times spent to game playing per week and
loneliness level of secondary school graders, Pearson correlation statistical analysis was performed.
According to analysis results, the mean time spent to playing computer game per week was 10.39
hours (SD=9.72), and loneliness scale mean score was 25.97 (SD=11.54). Analysis results can be
seen in Table 1.
Table 1. Pearson correlation results for time spent per week and loneliness level
Time spent per week
As shown in Table 1, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between times spent to
playing computer game per week and loneliness level of students (r=.196, p<.01). As a result of this
analysis, it can be said that the students who spend more time to playing computer game are lonelier
In order to investigate whether correlation between how many years they have spent on playing
computer game and loneliness level of secondary school graders, Pearson correlation statistical
analysis was performed. The mean spent year of participants to playing game was 2.31 years
(SD=0.93). In the Table 2, the results of performed statistical analysis in order to answer the second
research question can be seen.
Table 2. Pearson correlation results for spent years to playing game and loneliness level
Spent years to playing
As shown in Table 2, there was not a statistically significant correlation between how many years they
have spent on playing computer game and loneliness level of students (r=.10, p>.05). When the
average gaming years of students examined (2.31 years), it can be said that they are new gamers.
Therefore, the no significant relationship between spent years to playing computer game and
loneliness level may be observed.
Last of all, in order to answer the third research question independent sample t-test was performed
and analysis results were presented in Table 3. The mean loneliness score of female and male
students was respectively 25.69 (SD=12.08) and 26.20 (SD=11.10).
Table 3. Independent sample t-test results of gender and loneliness level of students.
According to results, there was not a significant difference between gender and loneliness level of
students (t(841)=.-631, p>.05). Although it is possible to find studies in the literature which defend the
gender is a predictor of loneliness, for only this study, we can say that the gender factor was not a
predictor of loneliness level.
The purpose of the present study was to reveal relationship between loneliness and excessive
computer game playing which are two major problems among adolescents nowadays. The results of
this study shows us that much times spent to playing computer or video games can cause
psychological problems such as loneliness. Loneliness is an important psychological problem which
typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or commonality and it may be a
symptom of another social or psychological problem, such as chronic depression, and antisocial and
self-destructive behavior. Moreover, loneliness often has a negative impact on learning for children in
these ages. As researchers and parents, we know that higher levels of interaction with friend can
improve well-being and social relationships are vital predictor of quality of life for adolescents.
Therefore, parents should encourage their children to make friends and play with them at least one –
twice a week, instead of excessive computer or video game playing. Above all, parents should spend
more time with their children and try to communicate and understand them.
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