Closing the gender gap: action video game training, cognitive improvement, and related self-efficacy

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Communication


Department of Communication


Advisor: Teresa L. Thompson


The current study aimed to understand moderators and mediators of the relationship between stalking victimization and mental health of the target. Learned Helplessness Theory (Seligman & Maier, 1967; Seligman, 1957) suggests that learned helplessness develops over time after chronic exposure to uncontrollable environmental stressors. Based on the Reformulated Learned Helplessness Theory (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978), which emphasizes the role of internal, global, and stable attributions for negative events in the development of depression, I predicted that the association between stalking victimization and depression would be mediated by attributional style and self-blame (Calicchia & Pardine, 1984; Janoff-Bulman, 1979). I also predicted that the association between stalking victimization and helplessness would be moderated by length of stalking episode such that longer stalking episodes would be associated with higher depression scores. The research on anxiety and stalking demonstrates conflicting results (e.g., Amar, 2006; Garnefski, & Kremers, 2007; Kraaij, Arensman, Garnefski, & Kremers, 2007). Therefore, I examined whether length serves as a moderator of the association between stalking victimization and anxiety, in an attempt to help resolve this controversy in the literature. The results indicated that global, but not stable or internal attributions for cause of the stalking significantly mediated the relationship between harassment and depression. The implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.


Video games Psychological aspects, Self-efficacy, Women in science, Communication, Action video games, STEM, self-efficacy, cognitive improvement

Rights Statement

Copyright 2014, author