Year: 2020 Source: Zeitschrift fur Kinder-und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie. (2020). 48(1), 15-23. doi: 10.1024/1422-4917/a000647. SIEC No: 20200406

This study investigates the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), age, and sex with respect to their avatar preference in online games. The analyses comprise a subsample of n = 1817 adolescents and adults from 14 to 60 years within a representative German population-based study. Results indicate that 14 % of this sample uses avatars in online games, with significantly more males (22.6 %) than females (7.7 %) doing so. Persons with multiple ACEs (≥ 4) have a higher OR of 2.05 (95 % CI: 1.418-2.956) to use avatars in online games. Regarding avatar preference, females are more likely to play supporters than males, and males are more likely to choose damagers and mixed-type avatars than females. Participants with an experience of parental divorce during their childhood reported higher preference of playing supporter or mixed-type avatars in comparison with damager avatars. Moreover, participants with mental illness or suicide in the family show a higher preference of mixed-type avatars compared to damager, but not to supporter avatars. Knowledge about the use of avatars can be an interesting source of information for supporting psychotherapeutic treatment in a young age group.