The role of sociable computer game play in facilitating social support, self-efficacy, and positive health-related behaviour change

  • Jonathan Farnell

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The capacity for sociable computer game play to facilitate positive health-related behaviour change by promoting social support and self-efficacy was investigated. The behavioural outcomes under investigation across three intervention-based studies were increasing physical activity and reducing perceived stress.
According to Iwasaki and Mannell’s hierarchical model of leisure stress coping a distinct motivation for leisure engagement is the pursuit of sociable interaction, and by extension, social support. This model was uniquely applied to provide a theoretical account of the potential for sociable computer game play to be facilitative of social support. Social support is predictive of self-efficacy and both are strongly associated with initiating and maintaining positive health-related behaviour. This research presents a unique arrangement of these constructs in a mediating relationship between social support, facilitated by sociable computer game play, and positive health-related behaviour that is mediated by self-efficacy.
Study 1 and 2 included a group study condition involving sociable computer game play, a solo study condition involving solo computer game play, and a control study condition with no computer game play. Computer game play (Wii Sports) occurred for 30 minute periods on a weekly basis for eight weeks. Analysis involved three-by-two (study condition by time point) mixed analysis of variance (mixed ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), which were supplemented with magnitude-based inference (MBI). MBI used simple contrasts between the group and solo study conditions (mixed ANOVA and ANCOVA) and the solo and control study conditions (ANCOVA). Furthermore, mediation analysis was performed in which social support was the predictor, self-efficacy the mediator, and physical activity or perceived stress the outcome.
Date of Award1 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorKatherine Swainston (Supervisor)

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