ESPORTS PSYCHOLOGY: Esports and Traditional Sports Players: An Exploration of Psychosocial Profile

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ESPORTS PSYCHOLOGY: Esports and Traditional Sports Players: An Exploration of Psychosocial Profile

In addition to physical health and performance, esports psychology and mental performance skills are prominent areas of focus in esports medicine research. With many of its online players putting in hours each week to enhance their cognitive and physical skills, competitive esports has grown to be comparable to sporting entities. Singh and colleagues (2022)  investigated the similarities between the two disciplines to have a better understanding of the demands and impact on esports players compared to sport players. Results garnered from this study show the key differences between professional online gaming and problematic online gaming. 

Based on their study, authors found differences in psychosocial traits when comparing online players. The most notable personality trait differences between the two groups were in openness and honesty/humility. This difference illustrates how esport players believe in the idea of fairness and non-aggression. With esports players consistently training to make quick decisions, think outside of the box, and make plays for the benefit of the team, creativity is a needed skill within this demographic. The ability to have an open attitude in a quick paced environment is vital for the overall success of the game.

The study did not find a significant difference between self concept and loneliness amongst esports and sports players. Overall, esports and sports players consider themselves attractive and competitive. This positive attitude is associated with better skills and mental toughness for sports players. 

When observing outcomes for loneliness, both esports and sports players found that the social environment surrounding both activities serve as a protective factor. In addition, both groups did not have any differences between one another in regards to depression, anxiety, stress, and subjective satisfaction with their life. There were certain subgroups within the mental health outcomes such as experiencing failures and suffering injuries at the verge of retirement that differed between the groups. 

An additional key difference between esports players and traditional sports players is that esports players utilized streamed and recorded videos (e.g. Twitch, YouTube) to improve their skills whereas sports players relied more heavily on their coaches.

Overall, esports players are comparable to sport players in regards to psychosocial outcomes and attitudes. Despite the stereotypical notion that online gaming comes with its addictive and problematic nature, aspects of training and competing at a professional level for online games serves as a protective factor. 

Source: Singh, P., Sharma, M. K., & Arya, S. (2022). Esports and traditional sports players: An exploration of Psychosocial Profile. Springer Sport Sciences for Health.

Summarized by Joann Ly

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