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January 28, 1983

Obsessive Video-Game Users

Author Affiliations

University of Missouri School of Medicine Columbia

JAMA. 1983;249(4):473. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330280023014

To the Editor.—  It was with great interest that I read the report by Ross et al entitled "Space Invaders Obsession" in The Journal (1982;248:1177). Their cases and comment suggest that in players who may be experiencing intrapsychic or interpersonal dissonance, the video games may serve to augment the defensive posture of the players. Their particular players apparently responded to a major life stress by the preoccupation with and compulsive playing of certain video games; the content of those games ostensibly reflected certain intrapsychic processes over which the players were seeking mastery.Examination of the relatively modest body of literature concerning selection and use of media may further substantiate their report. In 1956, Horton and Wohl1 contended that certain media contents may provide the substrate for "para-social interaction" by the lonely or alienated. They believed this type of interaction reinforces the ego rather than flooding it; thus, the spectator