Science Shows: Violent Video Games Make You Less Stressed and Depressed

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Christopher J. Ferguson, associate professor at Texas A&M International University has completed a study on the effects of playing violent video games on 103 frustrated young adults.

The results suggest that violent games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who plays the odd video game.  They’re games.  But, some people who play the odd video game know people who don’t.  Perhaps they’d like something to link those people to?

In Ferguson’s study, about one hundred young people were given a “frustration task” and then either played no game, a non-violent game, a violent game where you were the good guy, or a violent game where you were a bad guy (chosen randomly).

It does seem that playing violent games may help reduce stress and make people less depressed and hostile.”

Ferguson cautioned that these results were correlational[sic], however, and more research is needed. However, he suggested that video games could increasingly be used in therapy with young adults and teens. Violent games may help people work through their frustrations with real life and calm down without increasing aggressive behaviors in real life.

Again, this probably doesn’t surprise anyone who regularly plays mainstream video games.  It wouldn’t be a recreational activity if it didn’t reduce our stress.  But there are plenty of people out there using only slightly less rigorous methods to say that games are bad for you.  It’s nice to have some contrast.

(story via That VideoGame Blog, image via Penny Arcade.)


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