3 min read

Health - Gamer vs. Non-Gamer (2)

Health - Gamer vs. Non-Gamer (2)
Hey there.

Last week, we started to dive into the topic of health in gaming, especially the difference between gamers and non-gamers, as well as how health (may) impact gaming performance. Today, we’ll continue with that and look at studies investigating the mental health of gamers.

😥 Mental Health

As we saw, physical activity has an impact on well-being and the performance of gamers. Physical health is at least as important. One study that looked at general subjective mental health – Williams et al., 2008 – found that players were less mentally healthy. They had higher depression and anxiety scores than the general population. 22.76% of the participants said they were diagnosed with depression. Also, women had a higher level than men.

Similar results were found in at least three other studies. When Soares and co-authors in their recent study from 2022 compared physical sports and Esports players, they also reported higher depression scores for the gamers.

Another study that compared physical sports players and Esports players is the one by Pereira and colleagues from 2021. In their study, Football players had lower anxiety and similar depression scores compared to eFootball players (FIFA players).

Lee and others in their study from 2020 looked at Esports athletes and non-athletes (casual gamers). Their results indicate a dangerous level of mental health. 64.7% of the Esports athletes, and 14.3% of the casual gamers scored above the clinical cut-off value for depression.

In another study by Lee and co-authors from 2021, a significant difference was found between players from different regions. Participants from South Korea had higher depression scores than their American and Australian counterparts. The players were all professional Esports athletes.

Interesting was that:
"Stress was positively related with depression and anxiety symptoms." - Pereira et al., 2021
Another factor that appears to play a role in mental health, especially depression is sleep and training time. Professional players often have a different sleep pattern. This
"[...] may be associated with mood (depression) and training time" - Lee et al., 2021
Also noteworthy is that Soares et al. found that depression and anxiety had to do with social connections. This means that people who are closer to other people (friends, family, etc.) had lower depression and anxiety scores.

💡 There aren't a whole lot of studies out there yet that investigate mental health aspects in gaming, and we definitely need more to understand why gamers show higher depression, anxiety, burnout etc. scores. The studies that have been done so far give us a first glimpse into what might be lying underneath.

When compared with the general population, gamers seem to be worse off in terms of mental health (anxiety, depression, and burnout) - professional players maybe even more so.

If you are a gamer, please make sure to take care of your mental health, and seek out help if need be.

As Pereira et al (2021) put it: "An integrative approach to help electronic football players when early signs of distress are present might help avoid other mental health symptoms that interfere with players’ well-being and overall health."

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Hope ya'll have a great week.

~Christian 🙂

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