2 min read

Health - Gamer vs. Non-Gamer (4)

Health - Gamer vs. Non-Gamer (4)
Hey there! 🙂

Today’s episode concludes (for now) our journey of investigating the mental health of gamers. What’s left is to take a closer look at players in a competitive or mixed context. How do they do regarding mental health? Here’s what science says.

🤺 Competitive and Mixed Context

What do I mean by competitive or mixed context? These are studies where professional Esports players are the main group investigated, or participants are in a competitive context, e.g., in a tournament. Most studies, though, specifically look at (semi-)pro gamers and their characteristics.

😰 Depression

We’ve talked a lot about depression in gamers over the past few weeks and have seen that gamers have higher depression scores compared to the general population. This is also the case for professional players.

Three of the studies that looked into depression found various factors that influence it. What made depression worse, according to the participants, were stress-related factors (distress and sports-related stressors), sleep-related factors such as the number of awakenings, time spent in bed, wake-up time, and wake after sleep onset, and other factors like maladaptive coping strategies, the number of training hours, burnout, and social phobia. If you want to take a closer look, the three studies are Pereira et al., 2021, Lee et al., 2021, and Smith et al., 2022.

🥵 Burnout

One study from 2022 by Smith and co-authors reported four sports-related stressors that were found to affect burnout. Those stressors were teammate interactions, personal concerns, teammate concerns, and game-specific uncertainty.

💡 For professional players, sports-related stressors appear to be important factors driving depression and burnout scores. Interestingly, what contributes to burnout can be divided into personal, team, and game level. Personal concerns (e.g., about one’s own performance), teammate concerns (how good are my co-players?), and the interaction within the team, and uncertainty regarding the game (e.g., game patches or the future of the game).

There’s still a lot to do for science in this regard. Are these stressors stronger, and hence have a stronger effect on burnout and depression scores? How do these stressors of professional players compare to stressors from the general population and their jobs? Is Esports a riskier job for your mental health than other jobs?

Gaming and Esports science may still be in its infancy, but we’re on the way!

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Hope ya'll have a great week.

~Christian 🙂

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