Exploring factors related to college student expertise in digital games and their relationships to academics

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Digital game play is a common pastime among college students and monopolizes a great deal of time for many students. Researchers have previously investigated relationships between subject-specific game play and academics, but this study fulfills a need for research focusing on entertainment game strategies and how they relate to strategies and success in other contexts. Utilizing a survey of 191 undergraduate students, the goal was to investigate students’ digital game play habits, strategies, and beliefs that predict gaming expertise, and to determine if these relate to academic success. Factor analysis revealed three latent variables that predict expertise: dedication, solo mastery, and strategic play. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine whether these three components could also predict academic outcome variables. Findings point to the absence of a relationship between these variables and academic GPA, but to the presence of a tentative relationship between confidence in game play and confidence in personal control over academic success.

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