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Electronic sports game (esports) gaming has seen a surge in popularity, especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with more young people turning to it as an alternative to physical activities. However, the impact of esports gaming on mental health is a matter of concern. Previous studies have produced inconsistent findings on the relationship between gaming hours and mental health, and the moderating factors involved remain unexplored. This study aimed to investigate the moderating effect of participants' subjective attitudes toward esports gaming on the relationship between daily gaming hours and psychological well-being (PWB) among Chinese young adults during the COVID-19 lockdown. A nationwide online survey was conducted on 550 Chinese young adults using the Credamo platform. Ryff's Psychological Well-Being Scales (42-Item version) were used to assess PWB levels. The analysis included 453 participants. Gaming hours were negatively correlated with PWB scores. However, when considering the moderating effect of subjective attitudes, the association between gaming hours and PWB scores was largely positive. Our study suggests that subjective attitudes toward esports gaming outweigh gaming hours in promoting personal psychological well-being. We propose practical recommendations for healthy esports participation patterns that prioritize positive attitudes, especially in similar future scenarios like COVID-19. Our findings may inform future psychological intervention and research in the esports domain.



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mental health, gaming hour, electronic sports game, covid-19, attitude