Video games in adolescence and emotional functioning: Emotion regulation, emotion intensity, emotion expression, and alexithymia

  • Gaetan Sophie
  • Bréjard Vincent
  • Bonnet Agnès

  • Video game
  • Adolescent
  • Emotional functioning
  • Regular gamer


Video-game users represent 40% of the French population and adolescents are the primary users. Yet excessive playing of video games has become a problem in modern society and is manifesting itself in treatment centers for adolescents. Before attempting to gain insight into this problematic use, we must understand video gaming itself and its implications for the gamer. The aim of this research is to propose an understanding of video-game playing based on some dimensions of emotional functioning such as emotion regulation, emotion intensity, emotion expression, and alexithymia. A total of 159 adolescents took part in the study. Regular gamers regulated their emotions more than irregular gamers did. They also felt their emotions more intensely. But regular gamers expressed their emotions less than irregular gamers did. Finally, the regular gamers' alexithymia level was higher than the irregular gamers' level. Especially, they had more difficulty being emotionally reactive. The avatar's evolution in the virtual environment may help mediate adolescents' problematic emotional experiences to give them meaning and enable their appropriation. As such, video games may act as a medium for projecting and experiencing one's emotional life by staging the emotional self, thereby explaining the engagement of adolescents in video gaming.