Study: Games are depressing...or are they?


Study: Games are depressing…or are they?

The average gamer is 35, overweight, and more likely to be depressed, says a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study, which was carried out in the Seattle-Tacoma area, found that gamers reported “lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns.”

It also indicated a curious difference between male and female gamers: the former proved more overweight and reported more Internet usage than non-gamer men, while female gamers reported more depression and lower general health than non-gamer women.

But which comes first, the games or the poor health? The researchers hypothesized that depressed individuals might be turning to games as a means of self-medication, immersing themselves in a game’s world as a way of forgetting about real-life troubles.
“Habitual use of video games as a coping response may [provide] a genesis for obsessive-compulsive video-game playing, if not video-game addiction,” one researcher told MSNBC. The study calls for “further research among adults to clarify how to use digital opportunities more effectively to promote health and prevent disease.”

Ah, the old chicken & egg. I suppose they’ll need more funding for further study.

As someone who suffers from depression, I would posit that the depression came first. I love playing games, but it’s a diversion - “self-medication”, a way to forget about the bills that I have that I can’t pay, the responsibilities I have that are hard to fulfil, etc.

Anyone up for a game of Carcassonne? :thumbsup:

Yes, I dare propose the poor health comes first.In high school I started playing video games because no one wanted to play with me.If video games hadn’t been invented, there would be something else. Maybe books?

(By the way, it is generally agreed that the egg has to come first. :thumbsup: )

I’m not sure that the study applies to board games. At least I would hope not.

I have more or less successfully weaned myself from computer games, partly by developing an interest in board games. Now if I could just wean myself from Internet discussion boards. . . .


I love board games. I just have trouble finding people to play them with. Oh well Christmas is coming so it will be good fun to play them with the family.

I had a depression problem before I got into computer gaming. I will admit, sometimes the actions of other players can contribute to making my moods worse, but that doesn’t make them the cause of the low feelings.

Like anything else, they can be depressing in extreme. If your addicted to them (like I have been…Final Fantasy 7 was incredible…Knights of the Old Republic was a bit better…and those MLB 2Kx’s are great…here I go again) then you might want to try something else- avoid solitary games.

However, a huge amount of games can be played with others. They might actually allievate depression.

Oh, I agree! I don’t know how many times I’ve been having a really rough spot and when I’ve logged on to hang out with my online gaming pals, someone has said something or done something that helped me feel better.

Interesting. I didn’t know lower extraversion was automatically unhealthy. Isn’t it just how some people are made? As for overweight, well, it’s called sitting in a chair. It would happen without the game too.

Well, the thing with books is that they engage your mind and they let you fill in some of the details with your own imagination. And the right kind of books can challenge you to think in new ways and learn.

But video games give you less of an opportunity to use your imagination. The story is planned out by the developers, and your job is to go through the story with them. You’re more passive when you play a game.

But anyway, back to the original topic. I don’t think games can create depression, but they can make it easier for someone to not deal with their depression.

Maybe sitting in the stale indoor air in the dim light is depressing. I read a lot. It sometimes has a paradoxical effect – it soothes me at first but then wears me down for lack of exercise. At least that’s how it feels. My mother used to yell at me, “Get your nose out of that book and get some sun on your face. It’s a beautiful day out.” Now I try to balance it.

Not entirely true. Games just tend to be more fast paced but they’re still mentally stimulating in their own way. Even slow-ones like strategy games can have your mind racing compared to just casually reading long lines.

And yes, I’m definitely one of those who believe they improve your reaction time and reflexes… a little too much if I might add. :o

I still play video games, but not as much as I used to. Then again, I’m also a computer programmer, so, I like trying to figure out how things in games were programmed. :slight_smile: I used to do that when I was a kid - play a game over and over, and try to figure out the logic and algorithms it uses.

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