Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Anthony M. Limperos


The majority of research tends to focus on the effects of violent video games, and as a result the motivations to play games are understudied. This study used the uses and gratifications theory as a framework for investigating game player’s motivation to play video games for the purpose of catharsis. This study also proposed that in-game variables, such as level of difficulty and content of the video game, all be investigated to see the effects they have on the achievement of catharsis or the development of aggression through other mediating variables such as enjoyment, control, and frustration with the game. It was found that difficulty of the game predicted frustration with the game and that those with more game playing experience reported greater feelings of catharsis, enjoyment, and feelings of control. None of the independent variables were found to attribute to feelings of aggression, including game content. Feelings of control within the game were found to be predicted by game type. Although there were relatively few main effects with the independent variables, correlations show trends in the data between variables that would support the achievement of catharsis through greater feelings of control, enjoyment, and decreased frustration.