Study: Violent games lead to drug, alcohol abuse

Researchers conclude "violent" games foster more "permissive attitudes" toward drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Anti-game activists got another bit of ammunition today, courtesy of a study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The study, which was jointly conducted by San Francisco- and Pittsburgh-based researchers, came to the conclusion that playing violent video games leads to "permissive attitudes toward violence, alcohol use, marijuana use, and sexual activity without condom use."

The study, titled "Effects of Media Violence on Health-Related Outcomes Among Young Men," was based on a sampling of 100 male undergraduate students aged 18 to 21 years. It randomly assigned the subjects to play one of two video games--VU Games' The Simpsons: Hit & Run and Grand Theft Auto III. Subjects were selected so that the test group would have "differing amounts of lifetime home and community violence."

The study's conclusions? "Men randomly assigned to play Grand Theft Auto III exhibited greater increases in diastolic blood pressure from a baseline rest period to game play, greater negative affect, more permissive attitudes toward using alcohol and marijuana, and more uncooperative behavior in comparison with men randomly assigned to play The Simpsons," read the report.

It stated that specifically "only among participants with greater exposure to home and community violence, play of Grand Theft Auto III led to elevated systolic blood pressure in comparison with play of The Simpsons." The report continuted, "Although youth growing up in violent homes and communities may become more physiologically aroused by media violence exposure, all youth appear to be at risk for potentially negative outcomes."

The report ran in the same issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine as an article that assesed the rating scheme of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). Titled "Content and Ratings of Mature-Rated Video Games," the study gave a mixed report card to the ESRB.

"Although the Entertainment Software Rating Board content descriptors for violence and blood provide a good indication of such content in the game, we identified 45 observations of content that could warrant a content descriptor in 29 games (81 percent) that lacked these content descriptors," read the report.

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Discussion

427 comments
jakjbt
jakjbt

this is weird...al the critics beat up gta because of violance...it is not that violent they just acuse it because it is popular...there is much more violent games than gta like scaraface,soldier of fourtune,postalhalf life,true crime :NYC and mortal combat!

sdcazares1980
sdcazares1980

As a psychology major, I would like to know if there's a significant difference between people who grow up in violent homes and people who grow up in nonviolent homes given that both groups play the game with the same amount of hours. Because as far as I'm concerned, the vast majority of video game players do not grow up to be violent people.

Arkdragon
Arkdragon

interesting but , which is the point with this the video games are just a diversion if the kid get to many elements from it in only reflects that there are lack of family values and their parents doesn't care about what their kids are doing and besides a game is just that a game the main problem is the person whom play it that has no personality

REDAVUTS
REDAVUTS

Wow , thats interesting . And all this time I thought college caused this. That reminds me .I'm definitely telling my kids to stay away from that place. From what I've picked up from 28 years on this world is that this is definitely not a place to send kids. College has way to much of all 3 of these things. But kids are encouraged to go. So does this message really mean PLAY VIDEO GAMES to are subconscious mind. Only a university with their deep pockets and tie's with the government could be so clever.

dpm1101
dpm1101

A 100 hundred participant study can hardly be called conclusive. It can barely be called corelational. Their sample was way too small, and look at the population they were studying; college students tend to do more of all of those things when compared with the general public. I would love to see the actual numbers for the study, because I bet 10 to 1 that the correlation was pretty small. "There's lies, there's damn lies, and then there's statistics."

dippendots
dippendots

Violence, sex, drugs, and alcohol, are more likely to be used by kids who don't know the effects of what there doing, than if they play video games and know what the real worlds like. Point is, you can't the people who make video games, you can olny blame the people who are to stupid to no what out there and what the consquences are.

Joe24x7
Joe24x7

This study makes no sense, i'd say out of a 100 male undergrads most of them would have toked the hookah or drink already. I can flip on the tv and find some sex or some drug use on regular television. I play violent games for entertainment and I enjoy it in a completely non physco way, I mean the classic movies like the godfather, scarface are very violent... look at The Devils Rejects "Two Thumbs up" from Ebert and Roper, tell me that's not some violent stuff..... Bah to the critics and there milarkey

mute4
mute4

OHH! Common!! 100 kids?? that's a very small sample of the whole population!!

teh_besterest
teh_besterest

From what I've been led to understand, all LEGITIMATE research in this area shows that the only people who are made more aggressive/violent by violent games are those who are predisposed to be violent or aggressive in some way. (i.e. Broken home, mental disorder, things like that). Also, as someone mentioned before, a raise in systolic blood pressure DOES NOT automatically make one a violent person, so they are clearly not willing to examine alternative explanations in their study, and last time I checked, good researchers try to DISPROVE their hypothesis rather than just looking cooking their results. Therefore, I must say that this just looks like some group of right-wing trolls looking for yet another scapegoat to target for youth-related phenomena that they not only fail to understand, but will likely NEVER understand if they keep cooking their results in these biased studies. As for the "permissive attitudes towards sex," ummm, there are MANY guys that are permissive towards sex (somehow I don't think video games are accountable for that one). So to sum up this angry longwinded post, it's OKAY to play games, as long as they're about teddybears and swans and things. Guess I'll go back to killing everybody killing/pillaging/having sex with everyone (and everything) I see now.

freakykidd
freakykidd

O.K, lets hope Jack Thompson doesnt find this out, otherwise he'll make a biiiig fuss again... We've herd it all before, its nothing new. Well, except the "sexual activity without condom use." Thats a new one :p

Truewiseblade
Truewiseblade

Why cant we just blame stuff on something that has ACTUALLY been proven to be bad for you, like obesity?

smurfa1
smurfa1

There is nothing in that report that is true. They just don't want to face the truth that there are something wrong in USA. Why aren't there so many criminals in Canada? Maybe, since I don't live in neither of those countries I am not sure, because they have a different court system, maybe because it is more difficult to get a weapon in Canada. And 100 person is not even 0.001 percent of the total number of gamers in this world. So because of the "fact" that these become angry, the rest of us do it to. That's so wrong! So next time you're voting for the next president, senator or something like that. Don't vote on these idiots that blames video games!

lack2000
lack2000

There's something you guys don't know about me...I smoke rocks!!! Seriously though...there must be some hardcore gamers on the Duke lacrosse team.

zuehlke02
zuehlke02

I see no conclusive proof to say that the study is accurate. Testing something a few times doesn't prove anything. Maybe after a few hundred tests that gave the same results, but even then. I play alot of violent video games. Does that mean that I'm going to grow up to be an angry, violent adult? No. Imo, the results they get have more to do with the way the person was raised and/or the way they think/personality.

manofmonkies
manofmonkies

I think these "researchers" had too much time on there hands and I was watching TV and it said its good to play video games

acesion
acesion

Hmm was it the home and community violence that lead to the rise or was it the game ima chose the first one.

irvine_jr
irvine_jr

I felt very strongly about this, and got myself a copy of the study. Mumbo jumbo aside, the results aren't exactly all doom and gloom. "Contrary to hypothesis, the violent video game condition was not associated with hostile social information processing, permissive attitudes toward violence, and attitudes toward sexual activity without condom use." In other words, they found that GTAIII has NO effect on liking violence and bareback riding, just being uncooperative (defined as competing against a VIRTUAL PLAYER as opposed to cooperating with him) and being permissive of alcohol and marijuana.

TheLadyEboshi
TheLadyEboshi

I AM NOT A YOUNG MAN! ... just wanted to throw that out there... :P

speedy2295
speedy2295

It's common sense to think that SOME PEOPLE might have this kind of thinking however most of that thinking is also based on past events in a persons life and/or their current personal life and their 18-21 they are going to smoke pot have sex without a condomn and drink their in college c'mon.

spartan_104
spartan_104

And all along I thought I was just avoiding really big droves of stupid people. Who knew that it was an anti-social disorder?

prophet001
prophet001

i think it's pretty obvious even that shooting a bunch of people in a game time after time is going to have a negative impact on your psyche. you really don't need to be a genius to figure that one out. however, even if you couldn't draw that conclusion on your own reading most of the replies to this thread should give you some view into the reality of the problem

E-Raccoon
E-Raccoon

Yet another piece of crap tryin to put down games.They probably tested on little kids for the crap they pull

kkkkkk_1
kkkkkk_1

I have an idea: they should do a study on the effect of these types of studies on peoples' behavior. So, have a control group that goes about their daily business; and then have the other group subjected to being brainwashed by results of a fascinating new study that claims that video games without a doubt make people want to shoot someone. Then examine the effect that this belief has on those who believe the study. It's a placebo effect, the same as the one they found in their study. You can attribute it to anything. It would seem that their logic is at fault. P.S. Love this: yeah i also heard it makes ur scrodum grow 5 inches (blueflames1800)

JeroenVS
JeroenVS

So, they place "sex" among those other bad things, like drug use and violence. Thus I assume sex is regarded as something bad or maybe even evil. But it's the frickin' creation of life, while violence and drugs only destroy humans. Common sense has clearly left this world.

blueflames1800
blueflames1800

yeah i also heard it makes ur scrodum grow 5 inches

Chaos2005
Chaos2005

So, this is where all those millions of tax dollars we, the American people pay goes to, huh? Well, I feel like I really learned something from all this!

homembarata
homembarata

Well.. I've finished almost every GTA, DOOM and Mortal Kombat games, and I play "violent" games since I was 8 years old.. and I've never used marijuana.. while most of my friends that don

SamejGink
SamejGink

If you asked me ANYTHING while I was playing a game I was into, I'd probably say "uh-huh," "sure," or "whatever." KEY WORDS : "permissive attitudes" The gamers of the world should study the non gamers to see who is really grounded in reality.

fittaihelvetet
fittaihelvetet

Games made me kill everyone in the whole world! no wait... maybe not.

Halexandre
Halexandre

They should have use a greater sample from more diversified environments. And they should have tested another aspects: the systolic pressure after playing is natural to be higher. That's called excitement and games are supposed to provide that. Or would you expect to remain calm as a lamb after watching Hannibal or SAW II? The problem is not with games, people! The problem is with people, games! If one is to prevent violence from entering a game, one shoul first deal with movies, whic are much more permissive and violent (talking of it: how come that sex is far more repressed than violence? We see extreme violence on underrated movies, but a back naked is sufficient to cause scandal among parents!). Gimme a break and let's talk about reality, not puritanism.

Edwarggn
Edwarggn

Violence? Games are killing. C' mon, don't be hypocrite. Did you ever see a funny game without killing? From Doom to Age of Empires, all have kills, and there are no efforts to do some kind of funny and educational games. All educational games are crap, and the games who don't have explicit violence always have options to make something "violent" (example: who played Roller Coaster Tycoon and have not drowned some guest, just picking and leaving them on the water, or killed a Sim by burning him/her in a stove accident in The Sims?). That's life. The point is not how "people can get bad" playing games, but is seeing that have much more important things to be done before rise money and time to make a stupid research to conclude that someone who play GTA will have more inclination to be bad than the ones who play The Simpsons. I think that just idiots don't know that if you expose someone to violent things, they will become more violent, this is obvious, but nobody kills nobody or fight nobody, even use drugs, "cause of games" (and nobody is obligated to "be exposed" to games, if want not). And how can they say that someone who plays mature games will not use condoms "cause of games" too??? I don't agree with such games, but this is quite absurd. I don't think that games are a healthy thing to do, and like all things in this world, is good if is enough, but the responsibility is yours. Logically someone who just play games or let his son/daughter do so certainly have some kind of problem, exactly like the ones who just work or just study or occupy their times doing a stupid research like this one.

Ruby13
Ruby13

well thats BS video games don't make people violent, they make themselves violent

remmbermytitans
remmbermytitans

whats this talk about "sexual activity without a condom"? people do that without playing video games, this is BS, and everyone knows this

psycotictaratua
psycotictaratua

"only among participants with greater exposure to home and community violence, play of Grand Theft Auto III led to elevated systolic blood pressure in comparison with play of The Simpsons." People are incredibly stupid. Instead of blaming drug abuse on home and community violence, they blame it on GTA III.

alcarazo9
alcarazo9

HAHAHAHAHAHA scientist why dont you go back to study chocolats.HAHAHA

barnell
barnell

only 100 people that is not a study, what a joke. i could go out right now and fined 100 people that are totaly differnent then that study shows

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

you can't do a study like this and expect to get decent results. Most 18-21 year old people I know do drugs as is and not all of them play games.

tmincy12
tmincy12

Ok I am 21. I drink, smoke, and have sex with no condoms, but that is not because of games. Its because of school. I will have to say if I did not have games I more than likely will kill a person or too, because of school. So, really video games have saved lives mostly TEACHERS. KOBE!

Vonheidger
Vonheidger

yeah... and i will play my GTA/Unreal Tournament, take a gun and kill every people that i see on the street... don't make me laugh....

argulkurzak
argulkurzak

how long will it take for people to understand that this doesn't interest anyone?

Kirko8585
Kirko8585

What? something about Unknown substances called Drugs and Alcohal. Someone fill me in, I was playin game for the past 18 years.

gamemasta06
gamemasta06

It's just a lot of crap. And "sexual activity without condom use." WTF?

VanillaThunda
VanillaThunda

Were there no criminals or people with violent tendancies before video games were invented?

Wolfrider
Wolfrider

Wait... "permissive attitudes"? What does that even mean? If they're more likely to engage in game playing they're more likely to be ok with marijuana use.... Well... given the current political movement in my country to legalize marijuana does that mean that game players are highly intelligent and much more politically active? The fact that they are young men would suggest all of the above regardless. Having a group from different age demographics would have made the conclusions much more plausible. Correlation does not equal causation. Academics should learn to employ that concept a little more.

king_pin_87
king_pin_87

Why are they comparing a simpsons game to a GTA game? If you compare a kids product to a more violent product than of course people are going to be naturally aggressive. If you got someone to watch Finding Nemo and someone else to watch Fight Club then the guy that watched fight club will naturally be more aggressive. This is an EXTREMELY biased study that is guaranteed to favour whining game hating parents who rely on TV and video games to raise there kids cause they are lazy. NOt only that, but they have used GTA, one of the most violent games around in there study to compare to the simpsons, if they had picked a game that has an average level of violence in todays games those results would be much different to the ones they received And I hate to admit this, but a lot of gamers are nerdy, and news flash, nerdy kids don't do drugs, nerdy kids are less likely to drink alcohol, they never get into fights (or at least ones where they fight back) and well, are lucky to get any sex. Now I am just generalising here, but do you think they people I just mentioned will be doing drugs, getting drunk off their face and having sex with loads of women after they play games? If anything it is less likely those things will happen cause of playing games. And last but not least, a lot of us gamers use video games as a stress release. We are letting all of our anger out of our bodies, and we become calm and sometimes shy people because of it. In conclusion, I love violence, I love video games, I love pro wrestling and I love Heavy metal, but I have NEVER been in a fight, I DON'T drink and have NEVER gotten drunk, and I'm not exactly lucky with the ladies, so no unwanted kids for me. None of the violent things I love had turned me into a drugged up lunatic, and I am not the only person like this. All you protesters can go rent a porno, cause clearly you need something to do with your miserable boring lives and watching porn will keep you entertained and you won't be pissing other people off.