Survey examines links between gaming, behavior

Study finds high school players less likely to have tried pot, girl gamers more likely to be in serious fights or carry a weapon to school; 6% of males report gambling addiction symptoms.

While a number of studies have looked for a link between violent games and violent behavior in children, there has been relatively little attention paid to the correlations gaming might have with other behavior, whether it be getting good grades or drug use. A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics seeks to address that gap, reporting on the results of an anonymous survey of 4,082 14- to 18-year-old Connecticut high school students.

If Jimmy Hopkins had been a gamer, he might have pulled down better grades.

A group of doctors from the Yale University School of Medicine's psychology department looked at correlations between male and female gamers and grade point average, marijuana and alcohol use, depression, participation in extracurricular activities, and use of caffeine, as well as their history of fights requiring medical attention and bringing weapons to school. They also asked respondents if they have ever unsuccessfully tried to cut back on gaming, experienced an irresistible urge to play, and felt a growing tension that can only be relieved by playing; three traits used to define impulse-control disorders (ICD) like pathologic gambling. Just over half of the students surveyed gamed at all, with 76.3 percent of boys and 29.2 percent of girls identifying as gamers.

The researchers found that among boys, regular gaming was associated with higher grade-point averages and caffeine consumption. This group was also less likely to be a regular cigarette smoker or to have tried marijuana.

In girls, gaming was associated with never having tried marijuana or alcohol and having no history of depression, but it was also tied to occasional smoking, high caffeine use, serious fights, carrying a weapon to school, and a slightly higher body-mass index.

Gender also played a role in how likely survey respondents were to indicate problematic gaming along the lines of an ICD. Of those surveyed, 84 boys (5.9 percent) responded in the affirmative to the three ICD traits, while only 22 girls (3 percent) indicated the same. Problematic gamers were associated with higher odds of smoking regularly, depression, and fighting. They were also associated to a lesser extent with higher chances of drug use and carrying weapons to schools.

The researchers were quick to point out that their results don't necessarily indicate a causal relationship, saying, "[T]his finding may suggest not that gaming leads to aggression but that more aggressive girls are attracted to gaming as a recreational activity. The finding also may reflect cultural differences in socio-economic conditions at home and in their communities." For example, they said it is possible girls in violent neighborhoods who carry weapons for protection may be more likely to stay home and play games instead of go out in dangerous communities.

As for next steps, the researchers said more work is needed to determine safe levels of gaming and identify risk factors for problematic gaming. Additionally, they called for more studies on possible intervention points and ways to prevent problematic gaming, as well as research into beneficial uses of games.

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Discussion

170 comments
Caisu
Caisu

That second-to-last paragraph is wonderful! This is what I've been saying in response to these studies for ages! That gaming doesn't cause the behaviours highlighted in reports, but is more likely to be a result of the same type of people liking the same types of games! Trust this to come from a study that has nothing to do with any government...

starwarsnut7591
starwarsnut7591

@BetardxFoosier High school doesn't matter anyways. I dropped out, got my G.E.D and still got in to a good college.

BetardxFoosier
BetardxFoosier

@starwarsnut7591 That's almost straight F's then.... There's a reason getting all A's is called a "four point oh." ->4.0

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Now I was in a foul mood when I made my previous comment (bad day at work) so would like to retract it. Although I will stand my ground in saying a lot of these 'studies' are fairly pointless.

kerrman
kerrman

Less likely to try pot? Are you kidding me..?

XtremeDude09
XtremeDude09

@warhawk-geeby They're not paid. Its a university study

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Hahahaha. I LOVE these type of reports. Why do people get paid for even doing this???? It's hilarious. Get a proper job.

Slagar
Slagar

Very interesting; I hope more research is done in the area. Also, I like the quality and objectiveness of this article Gamespot, thanks.

Ex-DarkBlade
Ex-DarkBlade

These articles are so annoying! What's the point of these articles?

Ex-DarkBlade
Ex-DarkBlade

I better be careful when passing by girls in my school.

Novemberfreeze
Novemberfreeze

also, maybe they should attempt these studies in various other settings. naturally, a person may be less keen to play games due to easy transportation and various other things that they could be doing compared to someone who has nothing to do and needs something to spend time on. as for problematic gamers and fighting: maybe its not the gamers fault? Sadly, there are still people who look down on gaming and treat gamers like easy targets. Eventually, the gamer would have to stand up for him/herself.

Novemberfreeze
Novemberfreeze

about time there was a study that said the opposite of what most people think. im tired of hearing that playing games lowers intelligence and does nothing but make people lazy. I've been playing video games since i was 3 and im neither lazy nor unintelligent. Actually, amazingly, i would go so far as to say games helped increase my intelligence and as for laziness, that is not a result of gaming. In fact, its more the other way around.

remysola
remysola

Who needs marijuana if you have COD, BC2 or WOW?

swyg
swyg

The article supposedly talks about how gaming affects gamers, but it's mostly about how gamers use gaming as an outlet; at least according to what the psychologists are saying. In other words, gaming is helping people that would otherwise do drugs or commit acts of violence. :)

JohnisGodd
JohnisGodd

I always knew there was a reason that girls shouldn't play video games. Stick to stoves and brooms ladies! (Sarcastic post)

UnknownPerson55
UnknownPerson55

@woolysockofdoom you sound like you belong on fox news

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

ohlookitsthisthreadagain.jpg

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

I find this article highly informative and I believe the research to be of much higher quality than most of the past studies on video games.

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@Gelugon_baat Thank you for bringing a some intelligent perspective to this other wise sarcasm-saturated thread. I would assume that half of the people who left smart-a$$ comments probably didn't bother to click the link you posted though. Post it again for the sake of future readers.

Kensei_Muguruma
Kensei_Muguruma

all these surveys on video games affecting people is rubbish.......gamers are just like everyone else so just let us be

nevryn
nevryn

@Gelugon_baat Yep, true experimental designs would be expencive. On the positive side, this research is entirely in its infancy, so it is possible that someone will come up with some clever design... eventually. Now if only the US government would acknowledge it as important and give us funding, we could do real research. "So... you are one of the 62 cited authors in the references? " Yes and as meaningless as that sounds, considering the average number of times an article is even read after being published is once, I was rather happy to get any citation (even if it was the length of a sentence that referenced like 7 other articles as well :-/). We researchers take what little satisfaction we can get :-P.

duckafro
duckafro

one of the more interesting articles i have read in a while.

Axe_Bot
Axe_Bot

I love gaming and Miss Mary Jane, and so do all my friends. Guess most gamers are just the reclusive types and are simply afraid of the consequences. Not to sound like a douche, but I gotta tell you folks... you're missing out.

Johny_47
Johny_47

@londongamer986 - I'm very similar but... I am very violent =D hahaha I'm only joking =P I agree with what you said and the person who wrote about people being violent and cruel before Video games and media existed, I SERIOUSLY doubt hitler's reason for all his bulls*** was video games =/

Saphire_Kitsune
Saphire_Kitsune

Gives kinda a bad name for girl gamers. I'm a girl gamer, but wouldn't hurt a fly. :P

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

btw, if any of you who are under 18 wouldn't mind answering a very small questionnaire for me (about gaming) it would be much appreciated. just mail me to let me know.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Ah, this is exactly what I needed for my "Gaming and youth culture" presentation in December. Thank you GS. You would be surprised at how hard it is to find neutral gaming research like this!

deviant74
deviant74

10 million imagine all the women, fast cars, drugs, fast food, and sitting on my couch I could do with that. Well maybe we should stop doing these surveys so I can live longer.

zidan4000
zidan4000

Also violence was there tens of thousands of years before video games or even media existed .

deviant74
deviant74

I'm just waiting for one of these surveys to tell me Nintendo F ed you up. And you can sue them for 10 million.

LondonGamer986
LondonGamer986

I'm a gamer, I don't smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol and i'm not violent. People who blame games for any of those activities are quite frankly, retarded.

kakashi6666
kakashi6666

this is rediculas i play my xbox for like 4 - 6 hours over the course of the day i dont get violent i dont smoke and i drink on ocasion there is nothing wrong with being a gamer and enjoying the works of art (mostly art anyway) that other people take years if not more out of there lifes to build and create i for one am verry proud that i am apart of this worldwide comunity :D

Freezezzy
Freezezzy

It's nice to see someone finally admit to the possibility of pre-existing personality traits (such as aggression, violence, etc.), or factors other than games.

woolysockofdoom
woolysockofdoom

@Timeaisis This study is correlational as are many studies done today. It's one of the biggest problems regarding studies on people who smoke. Cancer is only correlated with smoking, the studies do not show causation. Causational studies are basically impossible to do on human subjects.

woolysockofdoom
woolysockofdoom

@UnknownPerson55 This is hardly a waste of research money. Scientific knowledge can only be accumulated through correctly done scientific studies. With the knowledge from those studies, further knowledge can be accumulated later. This is how scientific progress works.

vega13mv
vega13mv

lol, slightly higher body mass index.

Truepace
Truepace

Oh let me have my games...

Timeaisis
Timeaisis

"The researchers were quick to point out that their results don't necessarily indicate a causal relationship, saying, "[T]his finding may suggest not that gaming leads to aggression but that more aggressive girls are attracted to gaming as a recreational activity. The finding also may reflect cultural differences in socio-economic conditions at home and in their communities." For example, they said it is possible girls in violent neighborhoods who carry weapons for protection may be more likely to stay home and play games instead of go out in dangerous communities. " Translation: This study has no significance whatsoever.

Truepace
Truepace

Doesn't really mean anything. People will do what they're going to do. What's the benefit of the poll? Human development my arse. Did some middle classer suddenly have an incling about gamers and behaviour so then thought it would be a great idea to waste money and time discovering nothing? This world is a joke in some parts.

zidan4000
zidan4000

Does anyone wonder why they don't make as much research on how movies and shows affect children behavior?

HavocEbonlore
HavocEbonlore

Why is it that these researchers still think that gaming is some sort of mega-catalyst for human behavior? There are other contributors that are far more influential to the behaviors in juveniles, such as upbringing, home life, life experiences, and even genetics. Video games don't turn out or promote genius kids or serial killers, we've been doing that ourselves since the beginning.

cajunstrike
cajunstrike

Agreed. Correlation alone does not prove causality.

RadView
RadView

The people creating the surveys and studies are the ones with real problems. They are trying to find out reasons/excuses why they are the way they are..... Gamers should create a survey/study baseed on those people, but we are smarter than that to waste our time away from saving worlds and tea baggin noobs. - I LOVE GAMES !

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

This survey makes sense. I never smoked pot until I stopped playing games. I pretty much cleaned my act back up once I got back to gamming. Also my grades went up when i sat at home studied and played a few games. I don't even drink anymore. It cost to much and takes away my gamming money. But hey I am 29 an trying to be a responsible member of society. But for the most part all the people i know that don't play games are pretty f'd up. More people in my neighborhood should have been gamming as upposed to selling drugs and trying to fit in on the streets. but hey all the other statistics show that I should be a mass murdering rapist with anger issues and no chance of a normal life...... Ha. I think i have proven them wrong.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@FarmFreshDX I was trying to think of a way to say that! Absolutely.

Crumblet
Crumblet

They forgot to mention that a startling 50% of gamers get up on the right side of the bed, 35% prefer pencils to pens, and 10% are left handed!