E-sport, psychological well-being, and sport participation: Data collection and natural field experimental analysis

Jeeyoon Jamie Kim (SPM) PI, Shane Sanders (SPM) co-I, Bhavneet Walia (PH) co-I, Bong Gee Jang (SOE) co-PI, and Eui Jun Jeong (Konkuk University, Seoul Korea) co-I.
Intramural Sponsored Project – 2019-2020 SU CUSE Grant – Innovative & Interdisciplinary Research, $30,000

E-sport participation can be conceptualized as competitive video game played at grassroot levels, where the video game of interest is played in professional competitions. In terms of the time use and prevalence, competitive online gaming is an important activity among American youth. According to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, more than 92% of 1,641 sampled Americans age 17-27 had at least one experience with competitive online gaming; just over one-fifth of individuals in the sample play competitive online games either every day or “almost every day.” Given the observed prevalence, it is critical to understand the psycho-social effects of competitive gaming upon our society.

This project seeks to obtain seminal estimates as to the influence of e-sport participation on psychological well-being and sport participation; also, we test whether these influences vary by intensity (e.g., heavy, casual) or type of e-sport played (sport vs. non-sport themes e-sport). Further, the pathways by which well-being benefits might occur are assessed with focus on one’s fulfillment of psychological needs for arousal, achievement, and social interaction. We examine the sport literacy and sport participatory effects of sport-themed e-sport participation. For this, the project will be conducted in two phases. Each phase will be grounded on data collected via cross-sectional surveys and based on a natural field experimental study. This project will assist policy makers concerned with the psycho-social effects of e-sport (and differences thereof by type of game) and sport governing bodies interested in or utilizing e-sport as a means to expand their fanbase.