Video games have become a prevalent source of media entertainment globally. Their popularity has made them a topic of interest to researchers, medical professionals, educators, politicians, and many more who are concerned about the role and impact video games have in society. Research has often focused on the effects of violence and addiction; however, the use of video games as an educational tool has been explored as well. Additionally, the literature suggests that video games may also be a useful medium for increasing positive health behaviors such as exercise. A popular type of video game known as an augmented reality game, or ARG, serves to overlay the gaming interface onto the real world and players are often encouraged to move about the game’s environment, and hence the real world, to further engage with the gaming activity. The current study examines the physical and psychological well-being of ARG players, as compared to people who report engaging in light exercise on a regular basis. For this research, the framework of Self-determination theory (SDT) is applied to evaluate the role motivational constructs may have with regards to ARG engagement, in particular whether positive and negative effects can be predicted based on how the games facilitate or undermine the basic needs of those who engage with them. A total of 407 participants completed questionnaires about their physical and psychological health, motivation, and activity engagement. Results supported the hypotheses that SDT’s basic psychological needs constructs significantly relate to physical and psychological well-being outcomes for ARG players, and the same patterns replicated in light exercisers. Participant approach orientation (task and ego involvement) demonstrated mixed results within each group. Findings suggest the importance of SDT-related constructs like autonomy, competence and relatedness when evaluating the influences of ARGs and videogames that could be designed to improve physical and psychological well-being outcomes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Video games--Psychological aspects; Video games--Health aspects; Augmented reality--Psychological aspects; Augmented reality--Health aspects

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Experimental Psychology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Psychology (CLA)


Kirsten Condry

Advisor/Committee Member

John Edlund

Advisor/Committee Member

Tina Sutton


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes