Anxiety and depression linked to computer games

A new study shows that people who spend more than 33 hours a week playing computer games suffer 15 per cent more anxiety and 25 per cent more depression than those who play for 21 hours.

Researcher Daniel Loton from Victoria University said both groups averaged levels well above those in past studies. “Excessive gamers displayed higher avoidance coping and lower approach coping styles compared to balanced gamers,” he said. “This may be reflective of video games being used as a coping mechanism to relax and as a distraction from difficulties,” he added.

Video gaming researcher Daniel Loton said that some of parameters of their study were academic results, relationships and physical and mental health in excessive gamers. According to the study, an excessive gamer is the one who play video games for more than 33 hours a week and the stable player is the one who restricts to 21 hours a week.

When both the groups were compared on the above given parameters then it was found that excessive gamers are not able to handle an intrinsic situation. Not only this, they are not able to overcome their anger in comparison to balanced gamers. It is however possible those excessive video game players do not give much time to solve real life problems, as they are indulged in playing games. This could be the reason for them to be not able to overcome stress, depression and other problems.

However no negative effect was found at work level, said Loton. One thing that has still to be determined is that the mental level excessive video game players have is from the times when they started playing video games or they have from a long time. Loton said, “Both groups averaged levels of stress, anxiety, and depression well above norms reported in past studies. But most alarming was that excessive gamers scored more than half the maximum measure for each and enough to determine clinical significance”. The study is said to take more time to reach at some firm conclusion, he added.

Loton said more data was needed to definitively answer the question of how much video game play was too much and invited adult gamers to take part by visiting www.videogamestudies.net. Participation involves completing online surveys monthly for a short period, and all participants who complete the study go into the draw to win $500 Australian dollars.

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