Electronic gaming and psychosocial adjustment

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

September 4, 2014


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The rise of electronic games has
driven both concerns and hopes regarding their potential to influence
young people. Existing research identifies a series of isolated positive
and negative effects, yet no research to date has examined the balance
of these potential effects in a representative sample of children and
adolescents. The objective of this study was to explore how time spent
playing electronic games accounts for significant variation in positive
and negative psychosocial adjustment using a representative cohort of
children aged 10 to 15 years.
METHODS: A large sample of children and adolescents aged 10 to 15
years completed assessments of psychosocial adjustment and
reported typical daily hours spent playing electronic games. Relations
between different levels of engagement and indicators of positive and
negative psychosocial adjustment were examined, controlling for participant
age and gender and weighted for population representativeness.
RESULTS: Low levels (,1 hour daily) as well as high levels (.3 hours
daily) of game engagement was linked to key indicators of psychosocial
adjustment. Low engagement was associated with higher life
satisfaction and prosocial behavior and lower externalizing and internalizing
problems, whereas the opposite was found for high levels
of play. No effects were observed for moderate play levels when
compared with non-players.
CONCLUSIONS: The links between different levels of electronic game
engagement and psychosocial adjustment were small (,1.6% of variance)
yet statistically significant. Games consistently but not robustly
associated with children’s adjustment in both positive and negative
ways, findings that inform policy-making as well as future avenues for
research in the area.

Published in


Volume and page numbers

Volume: 134 , p.716 -722







Open Access article



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