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Few research studies have examined the predictors of mental ill health in esports. This study addresses that gap by investigating stressors, sleep, burnout, social phobia anxiety and mental ill health in esport athletes. An online survey was disseminated to competitive student esport athletes (n = 313) residing in the UK. The survey included measures of stressors resulting from competing in esports, sleep quality, burnout, and social phobia, as well as outcome measures of mental ill health. Hierarchical regression analyses examined these relationships. All the hypotheses were supported, with stressors significantly predicting sleep quality, burnout, and social phobia anxiety, and stressors, sleep quality, burnout, and social phobia anxiety were all significant positive predictors of mental ill health. The strength of these predictions varied, for example, the daytime dysfunction subscale of sleep was a strong predictor of all outcome variables; two subscales of burnout, reduced sense of accomplishment and exhaustion significantly predicted each of the three mental ill health outcome variables, and two subscales of social phobia anxiety, fear and avoidance, significantly predicted mental ill health. Our study has important implications for player health in esports, highlighting interventions that could target specific aspects of stress, sleep, burnout, and social phobia anxiety to improve the mental health of those who compete in esports.


Matthew Smith, Benjamin Sharpe, Atheeshaan Arumuham, Phil Birch. Examining the Predictors of Mental Ill Health in Esport Competitors. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland). 2022 Mar 26;10(4)

PMID: 35455804

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