My Topics

22 March 2018

Playing in First-Person Shooter Clans Can Benefit Young Adults’ Well-Being

Keywords: games, survey, computer, gaming, happiness, health, interactive media, internet, media, young adults,

A study in Computers in Human Behavior shows that playing in first-person shooter gaming communities, also referred to as clans, can benefit young adults’ well-being. It fulfills elementary psychological needs, such as the need for feeling effective and skilled, the need for feeling socially connected, and the need to develop freely.

Take aways

  • Playing in first-person shooter clans can benefit young adults’ well-being, because it offers them a wide spectrum of possibilities to fulfill fundamental psychological needs, such as the need for competence (to feel effective and skilled), relatedness (to feel socially connected), and autonomy (to develop freely).
  • Those interested in the effects of first-person shooters on young people’s behavior should not only concentrate on the harmful effects, but also take into account the possible benefits of these games on well-being. 

Study information

  • The question?

    What effect does clan membership in first-person shooter games have on young adults' psychological needs and their well-being?

  • Who?

    585 Counter-Strike clan players (mean age: 22 years, 2% girls)

  • Where?

    Germany, Europe

  • How?

    The study was about the online first-person shooter game Counter-Strike. Participants were asked to fill out an online survey, including questions about their well-being and whether the clan-life satisfies their psychological needs, such as competence (e.g., “In my clan, I feel like a competent person.”), relatedness (e.g., “I find the relationships I formed in my clan fulfilling.”) and autonomy (e.g., “In my clan, I have a say in what happens, and I can voice my opinion.”). In addition, participants were asked questions about their behaviors in the clan, because these behaviors might explain why being a clan-member in first-person shooter games satisfies their needs.

Facts and findings

  • Young adults who felt that playing the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike fulfilled their need for competence, relatedness, and autonomy, also reported higher levels of well-being. 
  • Young adults who helped in organizing and leading the clan as well as engaged in social-oriented communication, which means talking with clan mates about private issues and problems, were more likely to satisfy all three types of needs within their clan.
  • Young adults who engaged in task-oriented communication, such as talking about playing tactics, as well as shared technical expertise were more likely to satisfy their needs of competence and autonomy, but the same actions seemed to be less important in terms of satisfying the need for relatedness. 
  • Young adults who met clan mates offline were more likely to satisfy their need for relatedness.
  • Critical note: No conclusions can be drawn about cause (behaviors within clans) and effect (need satisfaction and well-being). This study only shows that behaviors within clans are related to need satisfaction and well-being in young adults.