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Proteus effect profiles: how do they relate with disordered gaming behaviours?

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posted on 2023-05-20, 11:42 authored by Stavropoulos, V, Halley de Oliveira Miguel PontesHalley de Oliveira Miguel Pontes, Gomez, R, Schivinski, B, Griffiths, M

Gamers represent themselves in online gaming worlds through their avatars. The term “Proteus Effect” (PE) defines the potential influences of the gamers’ avatars on their demeanour, perception and conduct and has been linked with excessive gaming. There is a significant lack of knowledge regarding likely distinct PE profiles and whether these could be differentially implicated with disordered gaming. A normative group of 1022 World of Warcraft (WoW) gamers were assessed in the present study (Mean age = 28.60 years). The Proteus Effect Scale (PES) was used to evaluate the possible avatar effect on gamers’ conduct, and the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale–Short-Form was used to examine gaming disorder behaviors. Latent class profiling resulted in three distinct PE classes, ‘non-influenced-gamers’ (NIGs), ‘perception-cognition-influenced-gamers’ (PCIGs), and ‘emotion-behaviour-influenced-gamers’ (EBIGs). The NIGs reported low rates across all PES items. The PCIGs indicated higher avatar influence in their perception-experience but did not report being affected emotionally. The EBIGs indicated significantly higher avatar influence in their emotion and behaviour than the other two classes but reported stability in their perception of aspects independent of their avatar. Gaming disorder behaviours were reduced for the NIGs and progressively increased for the PCIGs and the EBIGs.


Publication title

Psychiatric Quarterly








School of Psychological Sciences


Kluwer Academic-Human Sciences Press

Place of publication

233 Spring St, New York, USA, Ny, 10013-1578

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Psychiatric Quarterly. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health