Study: Gaming equals poorer relationships with friends, family

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Study: Gaming equals poorer relationships with friends, family

Chicago (IL) – Researchers at Brigham Young University have conducted a study which finds a connection between young adults’ use of video games and poorer relationships with friends and families along with a greater frequency of risky behaviors, such as drinking and drug abuse. The 813 college student study’s co-author reportedly was rather disappointed at his own findings.

Said Laura Walker, the faculty mentor of undergrad student Alex Jensen who helped conduct the study, “It may be that young adults remove themselves from important social settings to play video games, or that people who already struggle with relationships are trying to find other ways to spend their time. My guess is that it’s some of both and becomes circular.”

He found that nearly 75% of college-aged men in the study played video games regularly, compared to only 17% of females playing “more than once a month.” The study also found that in addition to increased frequency of risky behaviors, young women felt a low self-worth if their game playing time was high.

In the future, Jensen will focus on how video games affect young couples. He says, “The gender imbalance begs the question of whether chasing a new high score beats spending quality time with a girlfriend or wife.”

The study was published by Laura Walker who teaches in BYU’s School of Family Life. Her colleagues Larry Nelson and Jason Carroll are co-authors on the study. Full details appeared in the January 23, 2009 issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

See the BYU press release.