Positive mental well-being and immune transcriptional profiles in highly involved videogame players
Previous research has identified a link between experiencing life as meaningful and purposeful-what is referred to as "eudaimonia"-and reduced expression of a stress-induced gene profile known as the "conserved transcriptional response to adversity" (CTRA). In the current study, we examine whether similar links between eudaimonic well-being and CTRA reduction occur in a sample of 56 individuals with a particularly strong engagement with virtual worlds: avid online videogame players. Results consistently linked higher eudaimonic well-being, and more specifically the social well-being subdomain of eudaimonia, to lower levels of CTRA gene expression. That favorable psychobiological relationship between eudaimonia and CTRA appeared most strongly among individuals reporting high levels of positive psychosocial involvement with gaming. Findings are consistent with the hypothesis that committed social/recreational activity may help damp CTRA expression especially among persons who are already experiencing some kind of threshold of positive eudaimonic experience.