In news that probably won’t shock the world, people who play lots and lots of games are probably more stressed, anxious, and depressed than people who don’t. That’s according to the preliminary results of a study happening over at Australia’s Victoria University, as part of researcher Dan Loton’s psychology PhD thesis.
“This global study measures relationships between mental, social and physical health across major life domains and video game play each month, and includes variables such as stressful events and life satisfaction,” he writes on the Tumblr page he’s set up for the study. “The major life domains that are asked about include parenting, working, studying and romantic relationships. There are also questions about physical, mental and social health. The goal is to determine how connected these factors may be with video game play and addiction.”
The study tracks participants over nine months, checking in monthly with what Loton describes as “a bit like a video game play and health diary”, and is ongoing.
Participants are grouped by those who clock up to 21 hours of gaming each week, and those who are putting in more time than that. The second group has apparently reported 25 percent more depression and 15 percent more stress and anxiety than the first lot, and are more likely to use gaming as a “coping mechanism”.
“Most alarming was that excessive gamers scored more than half the maximum measure for [depression, stress, and anxiety] and enough to determine clinical significance,” said Loton in a statement.
What the study doesn’t seem to show is whether gamers are unhappy because they’re playing too many games, or they’re playing too many games because they’re unhappy.
The study is open to participants from all over the planet, so if you’d like to do your bit for science, you can sign up on the Tumblr page linked earlier.