Adolescents’ videogame play, need satisfaction, and self-esteem: a self-determination perspective

Edward Noon, Luca Carbone, Brent Swinnen, Laura Vandenbosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Initial evidence suggests that need-supportive videogame play can have positive short-term effects on adolescents’ need satisfaction, and may therefore help to promote positive well-being. However, less is currently known about the long-term interrelations between need-supportive videogame play, global need satisfaction, and adolescent well-being. Thus, guided by self-determination theory and broaden-and-build theory, this study explored the longitudinal reciprocal relationship between adolescents’ need-supportive gameplay and self-esteem, via global need satisfaction. The moderating effect of gender was also examined. Three-wave panel data were collected from 405 Belgian adolescents between September 2021 and September 2022 (M age = 15.13, SD = 1.52; Female = 64.20%), and data were analyzed using random intercept cross-lagged panel models. The valence, strength, and consistency of within-person cross-lagged associations differed across the basic psychological needs, and gender had no moderating effect on the hypothesized models. Results therefore suggest that the uniform positive effects of need-supportive gameplay on adolescent well-being tend to be short-lived, and that over time, videogame play tends to satisfy some basic psychological needs more than others. Findings add to the emerging literature regarding videogame play and positive adolescent well-being, and results emphasize the importance of investigating the long-term implications of adolescent videogame play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21192–21207
JournalCurrent Psychology
Early online date9 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


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