The Relationship Between Video Gaming and Psychological Health


The Relationship Between Video Gaming and Psychological Health

With over two billion players globally, video gaming is a very popular leisure activity (Newzoo, 2017). Excessive video gaming, however, has been high

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With over two billion players globally, video gaming is a very popular leisure activity (Newzoo, 2017). Excessive video gaming, however, has been highlighted by the media and professionals as a potential threat. The goal of this study was to provide insight on the relationship between video gaming and psychological functioning in gamers. 2,734 people (2,377 men, 357 women, Mage = 23.06, SDage = 5.91) were given questionnaires about their personality and psychological health, as well as their video gaming activities. In terms of psychological symptoms, affectivity, coping, and self-esteem, the findings demonstrated a medium-sized unfavourable association between problematic video gaming and psychological functioning. Furthermore, gamers’ motivations for playing and preferred game genres were found to be associated to psychological functioning in varied ways, with the most striking findings for distraction-motivated and action game players. Future research is needed to determine if these psychological health hazards are caused by or result from video gaming.


Adults like video gaming as a kind of entertainment (Pew Research Center, 2018). Time spent playing video games has progressively increased, from 5.1 hours per week in 2011 to 6.5 hours per week in 2017. (The Nielsen Company, 2017). While video gaming is known to have some advantages, such as boosting focus, multitasking, and working memory, it can also have drawbacks when used excessively. Excessive video gamers are at danger of lower scholastic and job performance, peer difficulties, and social skills as a result of spending a significant portion of their day gaming (Mihara and Higuchi, 2017). On the one hand, video game use is common, and it can have both positive and negative impacts. The relationship between varied video gaming habits and psychological functioning, on the other hand, is poorly understood. Using a large sample, this study tries to shed light on these essential relationships.

Motives for participating

For various reasons, gamers reported how frequently they played video games. They assessed each of the ten reasons on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (never) to 4 (often) (very often). Relaxation (M = 2.96, SD = 0.91), entertainment (M = 2.94, SD = 0.85), and the storyline (M = 2.67, SD = 1.10) were the most common causes.

Genres of games

Gamers were asked how often they played first-person shooters, round-based strategy games, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), life simulations, and other video game subgenres. Likert scales ranging from 1 (never) to 4 (always) were used to assign ratings (very often). We divided the subgenres into four primary categories based on Apperley’s (2006) definition of gaming genres: action (M = 2.54, SD = 0.84), strategy (M = 2.13, SD = 0.80), role-playing (M = 2.01, SD = 0.73), and simulation (M = 1.58, SD = 0.44). To account for subgenres like jump’n’runs and skill games, a cluster for unidentified subgenres (M = 1.54, SD = 0.39) was included. Supplementary Tables S1–S4 show descriptive statistics and intercorrelations for all measures (including sex and age).

Psychological Abilities

The following constructs were used to rate the participants’ psychological functioning:

Psychopathology in general

The SCL-K-9 (Klaghofer and Brähler, 2001), a simplified version of the SCL-90-R (Derogatis, 1975), was used to assess participants’ subjective impairment in terms of psychological symptoms (somatization, obsessive-compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism). The SCL-K-9 score is well associated with the SCL-90-R original score (r = 0.93). The 9 items were graded on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (do not agree at all) to 5 (totally agree) (agree completely). Cronbach’s alpha (= 0.77) was satisfactory.