The relationship between online video game involvement and gaming-related friendships among emotionally sensitive individuals

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Jul;17(7):447-53. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0656. Epub 2014 Mar 24.


Some researchers believe that online gaming spaces can be socially accommodating environments for socially inhibited individuals, such as the socially inept, socially anxious, or shy. While previous research has examined, and found, significant links between these populations and online video game play, it remains unknown to what extent these spaces are contributing to tangible social benefits for the socially inhibited. The current study addresses this question by evaluating the link between gaming-related friendships and shyness, as quantified by emotional sensitivity. Drawing from a representative sample of German game players, the results indicate that emotionally sensitive players are using online gaming spaces differently from their less emotionally sensitive counterparts and reporting tangible differences in their in-game friendship networks. This suggests that online games hold the potential to be socially advantageous for shy individuals by allowing them to overcome their traditional social difficulties and generate new friendships as well as strengthen old ones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Friends / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Shyness*
  • Social Support*
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Young Adult