Are children who play violent video games at greater risk for depression?

August 18, 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

While much attention has focused on the link between violent video game playing and aggression among youths, a new study finds significantly increased signs of depression among preteens with high daily exposure to violent video games. The details and implications of this important new study are described in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Susan R. Tortolero, PhD and coauthors from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, RAND Corporation (Santa Monica, CA), The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), and Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA) recorded significantly more depressive symptoms over the course of a year among fifth-graders from three U.S. cities who reported playing high-violence video games for 2 or more hours a day, compared to those who reported playing low-violence video games for less than 2 hours a day. This association was consistent across all racial/ethnic subgroups and among boys, according to the study results presented in the article "Daily Violent Video Game Playing and Depression in Preadolescent Youth."

"One of the strengths of this study is its large and ethnically diverse sample," says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.

Explore further: Video games do not make vulnerable teens more violent, study says

More information: The article is available free on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

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