This paper aims to investigate the phenomenon of active escapism – a unique form of experiential consumption that engages fantasy and role-play as a means of coping. In contrast with passive forms of escapism, whereby consumers act as observers (e.g. watching a movie), active escapism provides consumers with the opportunity to directly interact with mediated realities, whether constructed in a virtual space (e.g. a video game) or the real world.
Within the context of video game consumption, a conceptual framework for active escapism comprised antecedents, processes and consequences is established through literature review, depth interviews and naturalistic inquiry.
The findings suggest that active escapism functions as a coping mechanism when consumers are confronted with external stressors that threaten either their sense of identity or control. While other forms of emotion-focused coping relieve stress through psychological avoidance (i.e. refocusing of attention away from stressors), active escapism provides the benefits of affirmation and empowerment through projective fantasy (i.e. role-play) and presence (i.e. immersion into a mediated reality).
The conceptual framework established by this analysis gives insight into the structure of active escapism as a theoretical construct, providing a foundation for future research. Managerial implications for consumer escapism (e.g. branded in-game content) are discussed.
Kuo, A., Lutz, R. and Hiler, J. (2016), "Brave new World of Warcraft: a conceptual framework for active escapism", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 498-506. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-04-2016-1775Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited