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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Tyler Prochnow, Logan Hartnell and Megan S. Patterson

Online gaming offers avenue to connect with others producing social capital especially for individuals lacking in-real-life (IRL) social support; however, there is…

Abstract

Purpose

Online gaming offers avenue to connect with others producing social capital especially for individuals lacking in-real-life (IRL) social support; however, there is concerns related to mental health and depressive symptoms (DS). Virtually mediated social connections are particularly important during times of social distancing. This paper aims to investigate discussant networks established through an online gaming site and their possible association with DS and social support.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (n =40) recruited from an online gaming site reported DS, online and IRL social support, and site members with whom they discussed important life matters. Participants also reported topics of conversation discussed and reason for communication. Quadratic assignment procedure multiple regression was used to determined significant associations between network structure, DS and social support.

Findings

DS were significantly associated with online (ß = 0.39) and IRL social support (ß = −0.44). Online social support was significantly associated with network structural factors. Topics reported by members most often were bridging capital topics while topics reported by members in most recent conversation were bonding capital topics. Members mentioned bonding social capital concepts as motivation for conversation.

Social implications

Building online relationships to provide bonding social capital could supply buffering effects for those feeling socially isolated during social distancing.

Originality/value

This paper is among the first to approach online gaming communication through social network analysis and qualitative analysis mixed method approach.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 May 2022

Tyler Prochnow, Megan S. Patterson and M. Renee Umstattd Meyer

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCs) provide numerous avenues for youth to connect, be physically active and have healthy meals/snacks. These services are often provided…

Abstract

Purpose

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCs) provide numerous avenues for youth to connect, be physically active and have healthy meals/snacks. These services are often provided to low-income families at reduced cost to bridge the gap in after school and summer childcare. However, many of these clubs were forced to dramatically change their services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to examine how 13 BGCs in Texas, USA, experienced COVID-19 and persevered to provide services.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews were conducted with 16 BGC leaders from 13 different BGCs. Open-ended questions were used to elicit leaders’ experiences with the pandemic, services their clubs were able to offer, barriers overcome and supports crucial to their ability to serve their communities. Thematic analysis was used to generate findings from these interviews.

Findings

BGC services changed significantly during the pandemic. Normal activities were no longer possible; however, leaders (alongside their communities) continually provided services for their families. Further, leaders reiterated the power of the community coming together in support of their families.

Social implications

While BGC leaders had to adapt services, they found ways to reach families and serve their community. These adaptations can have dramatic impacts on the social and physical well-being of children in their communities. Learning from this adversity can improve services as clubs start to build back.

Originality/value

This study provides vital context to the changing care and setting children were exposed to during the pandemic response. Additionally, these results provide understanding of the adaptations that took place in these services.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 July 2022

Megan S. Patterson, Christina Amo, Allison N. Francis, Katie M. Heinrich, Tyler Prochnow, Jocelyn Hunyadi and Sydney Miller

This paper aims to use social network analysis (SNA) to determine whether compulsive exercise (CE) was related to social connections and network position among…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to use social network analysis (SNA) to determine whether compulsive exercise (CE) was related to social connections and network position among participants of group-exercise programs.

Design/methodology/approach

Members from two group-exercise programs (Gym 1: n = 103; Gym 2: n = 56) completed an online survey measuring their social connections within the program, CE, depressive symptoms and sense of belonging. Network position was calculated for each person based on network centrality scores (i.e. closeness, eigenvector centrality). Linear network autocorrelation models determined whether respondents reported similar CE as their network ties (i.e., network effects) and whether network position was related to CE in these networks.

Findings

Eigenvector centrality (i.e., being connected to popular/important people within the network; Gym 1: parameter estimate [PE] = 0.51, p < 0.01, Gym 2: PE = 0.39, p = 0.02) and network effects (i.e. having similar CE scores as direct network ties; Gym 1: PE = 0.07, p < 0.01, Gym 2: PE = 0.19, p < 0.01) were related to CE among participants in these programs.

Originality/value

This study builds on existing SNA research suggesting the importance of social connections and network position on CE, and, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, is the first to explore these effects among group-exercise participants. This study describes how the social environment can impact, both positively and negatively, someone’s susceptibility for CE and supports fostering social connections within group-exercise programs as a way to potentially combat harmful CE among its participants.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 March 2020

Tyler Prochnow, Megan S. Patterson, Logan Hartnell and M. Renée Umstattd Meyer

Increases in video game use have led to mental health concerns, citing greater risk for depressive symptoms (DS) and reduced “in-real-life” (IRL) social involvement…

Abstract

Purpose

Increases in video game use have led to mental health concerns, citing greater risk for depressive symptoms (DS) and reduced “in-real-life” (IRL) social involvement. However, recent studies have uncovered potential social benefits for online gaming. Many games provide avenues to extend real life relationships and make new online friendships. The purpose of this pilot study is to use social network analysis to determine associations between connections and DS in a gaming community.

Design/methodology/approach

As a pilot study, members of an online gaming site were asked to report demographic characteristics, DS, IRL social support, online social support and IRL people and members of the online community with whom they spoke to about important life matters. Multi-level modeling was used to parse variance described by demographic characteristics, IRL measures and online measures. Linear network autocorrelation modeling (LNAM) was used to determine relationships between network connections and DS.

Findings

Members (n = 37; µ = 24.76 years old, SD = 6.55; 100% male; 89.2% white) on average felt DS’ “not at all” to “several days” over the past two weeks. Multi-level modeling including online network measures explained 50% of variance (R2 = 0.50, F (9,27) = 2.98, p = 0.01); online connections were associated with DS (ß = 0.46). LNAM indicated DS were associated with IRL support (ß = −2.66), IRL connections (ß = 1.81), online support (ß = 2.40) and network effects (ß = 0.06), which indicates that a gamer’s DS were similar to those of their online connections.

Originality/value

Members with more DS may be seeking help via online channels. This may be important for future research to consider alternative forms of help-seeking behavior.

Details

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-9322

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2020

Tyler Prochnow, Megan S. Patterson and Logan Hartnell

The increase of videogame use has raised concerns regarding mental health of gamers (e.g. social isolation, depression); however, online gaming may offer the benefit of…

Abstract

Purpose

The increase of videogame use has raised concerns regarding mental health of gamers (e.g. social isolation, depression); however, online gaming may offer the benefit of social connectivity. Many games provide ways for people to meet and interact, providing social opportunities difficult to come by for some young adults. One way to investigate social connection is through social network analysis, which explores the influence of connections on behaviors. The purpose of this paper is to analyze factors related to social connections within an online gaming community, with an emphasis on the influence of social support and depressive symptoms on network ties.

Design/methodology/approach

All members of an online gaming site were asked to report demographics, site use, depressive symptoms, “in-real-life” (IRL) social support, and online social support. Members were also asked to nominate those in their gaming network with whom they spoke to about important life matters. Moran’s I determined the spatial autocorrelation of depressive symptoms and IRL support within the network. Exponential random graph modeling determined factors significantly associated with tie presence between members.

Findings

Members (n=37) were significantly more likely to speak to other members about important life matters if they reported more site hours, more depressive symptoms, and less IRL support. Depressive symptoms and IRL support were not significantly spatially autocorrelated within this network.

Originality/value

Results suggest members may be filling an IRL social support deficit with friends they have met online. Additionally, members who reported more depressive symptoms may be seeking help from informal online connections through online gaming.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2020

Tyler Prochnow, Megan S. Patterson, Joseph Sharkey and M. Renee Umstattd Meyer

The health equity and prosperity of communities is closely linked to the effectiveness and success of local health coalitions. Social network analysis (SNA) is one…

Abstract

Purpose

The health equity and prosperity of communities is closely linked to the effectiveness and success of local health coalitions. Social network analysis (SNA) is one mechanism to quantify and understand the factors leading to collaboration and effectiveness within these coalitions. This study aims to investigate network characteristics associated with perceived success and satisfaction in a health coalition and determine significant factors related to organizational collaborations.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examined the Olympic Peninsula Healthy Community Coalition (OPHCC) which aims to prevent chronic disease in rural Clallam County, Washington. Representatives (n = 21) from member organizations (n = 18) were asked to report on organization characteristics, perceived satisfaction in coalition activities, perceived success toward coalition's mission, and collaborations with other organizations in the coalition. Multilevel modeling used to analyze whether an organization's position within the coalition network was associated with their perceived satisfaction and perceived success. Exponential random graph modeling was used to examine what factors may impact collaboration ties between coalition members.

Findings

Organization representatives reported a total of 252 collaboration ties. In multilevel models, organization characteristics and network centrality scores accounted for between 61 and 68% of variance displayed in satisfaction scores and 45–61% of variance in perceived success scores. Exponential random graph modeling revealed activity level, for-profit status, and transitivity as significant factors in collaborative tie presence.

Originality/value

Encouraging consistent active participation, a balance of organizational type, and projects which require more than two collaborators may provide an environment for collaborative ties between organizations.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 34 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

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