The role of social identity and online social capital on psychosocial outcomes in MMO players

Linda Kaye, Rachel Kowert, Sally Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)
1360 Downloads (Pure)


Previous literature has found inconsistent relationships between online gaming engagement and psychosocial outcomes. To add clarity to this discussion, we explored these relationships though a multidimensional lens of gaming engagement. That is, we examined the role of gamer identity and online social capital as mediators of online gaming engagement and psychosocial outcomes (i.e. self-esteem, loneliness, social competence). We addressed this in a sample of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMOs) players (N = 708), via an online questionnaire to establish cross-sectional associations. Findings revealed positive relationships between MMO engagement (measured by a multidimensional measure), gamer identity, and online social capital. Additionally, gamer identity related positively to self-esteem and social competence, and negatively with loneliness. Differential outcomes were also found between social capital and loneliness. Specifically, loneliness was negatively related to online bonding, but positively with online bridging capital, highlighting the importance of exploring the constitution of gaming communities to assess their role in promoting varying dimensions of social capital and the associated psychological correlates. Taken together, we evidence the psychosocial benefits of MMO engagement, specifically in relation to the social value of identifying and connecting with others in MMOs. Additionally, we highlight the complexities surrounding the concept and measurement of gaming engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date24 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • Online gaming
  • Psychosocial outcomes
  • Social identity
  • Online social capital


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