University of Winchester is partner in first-ever survey of mental health of its kind in esports

7 Aug 2020

The University of Winchester is working with the University of Chichester and the Counter Strike Professional Players' Association (CSPPA) to plan a comprehensive research project examining the factors influencing the mental health of esport players, specifically in the first-person shooter game CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive).

Dr Matt Smith, a sport and exercise psychologist and senior lecturer in the University's Department of Sport Exercise and Health, is collaborating with Dr Phil Birch and Ben Sharpe of the University of Chichester. Preliminary evidence gained from a study published by Dr Smith and Dr Birch in January 2020 found that elite CS:GO players face significant stressors in their competitive lives.

"The prevalence of mental ill health competing at a high level appears to be increasing," said Dr Matt Smith.

"In esports, a number of professional players ha ve reported their struggles with ill mental health. Our recently published study highlighted some of the demands faced by esports athletes, and this study aims to provide a more comprehensive examination of factors impacting on their mental health. We hope by understanding more about these causes, it will then inform further work to support athletes operating in this demanding environment."

Data collection for the project will commence in the coming weeks. The project will be the first of its kind in esports to:

  1. Provide a comprehensive examination of the factors influencing mental health in professional esports players, specifically in CS:GO.
  2. Use the expertise of researchers, professional players association, mental health of their players and highlight ex-professional players/coaches.

The project aims to advance the current lack of understanding of the factors influencing mental health in CS:GO, creating a platform to support professional players to deal with the intense demands of professional game play.

The findings of the project may help other esports better understand the mental health of their players and highlight the importance of mental health to the broader esports ecosystem.

The CSPPA is working intensively with mental health issues and invites any partner to contribute to this project for better working conditions in CS:GO.

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