Adults Playing Video Games: Health Risks?
Survey Shows Those Who Play Video Games Report More Depression Than Non-Gamers
Aug. 20, 2009 -- Adults who play video games may be increasing their risk
for health problems, a new study shows.
A survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
shows that gamers reported more depression than non-gamers; the video game
players also said they were more sedentary than non-players.
The study researchers included the CDC's James B. Weaver III, PhD, MPH, and
colleagues at Emory and Andrews universities. They surveyed 562 people between
the ages of 19 and 90 in the Tacoma-Seattle, Wash., area, where Internet usage
is highest in the nation.
Among their findings:
- 45.1% of respondents reported playing video games.
- Male gamers had higher body mass indexes than male non-gamers.
- Males and females alike use gaming and the Internet for social
- Adult gamers report more "poor mental health days," were more
sedentary, and less outgoing.
- Men were more likely than women to be gamers.
- Gamers reported more depression than people who didn't play computer
- Gamers reported they spent more time on the Internet than non-gamers.
Women surveyed seemed to use video games for "self-medication" and mood
management, but that's not necessarily bad, Weaver tells WebMD.
It's just that women may have latched onto another method of mood
management, and that's possibly a positive step, he says.
"Women may be using video games as a form of digital medication," he tells
WebMD. "Women are particularly good at using media to help manage their mood.
Women who are experiencing mental health challenges are actually trying to
improve their condition through self-distraction."
The researchers also found that gamers feel they get less social support
from friends and family members, and more from fellow gamers.
Weaver says in a news release that scientists need to do more research to
see if there are "digital opportunities" to promote health and prevent