Excess gaming linked to depression, bad grades
January 17th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Excess gaming linked to depression, bad grades

When it comes to playing video games, it seems moderation is important to a child's mental health. A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics finds excessive gaming may lead to depression, anxiety, and poor grades in school.

Researchers in the U.S. and overseas looked at more than 3,000 elementary and middle-school children in Singapore and found that almost 9% of them were considered pathological or "addicted" to gaming – similar percentages were found in other countries.

Over a two-year period about 84% of those who started out as excessive gamers remained so, indicating that this may not simply be a phase that children go through. Boys were more likely to show symptoms of excessive gaming. Overall those considered "pathological" gamers displayed higher levels of depression and other mental health issues than their peers who played fewer video games. The researchers also found that students who did stop their excessive gaming reduced their levels of depression, anxiety and social phobia.

There is debate in the medical community as to whether pathological or "addictive" video gaming should be listed as a mental disorder in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders – a guide used by the American Psychiatric Association in diagnosing mental disorders.

To gauge the level of pathological gaming, the study authors asked students questions similar to the type used to diagnose gambling addiction such as: were students becoming more preoccupied with video games, did they lie about the amount of time spent playing, had their schoolwork suffered, and if playing helped them escape from problems or bad feelings.

A young person was labeled pathological or "addicted" if the practice caused problems in his or her life.

"And we define that as actual functioning – their school, social, family, occupational, psychological functioning. To be considered pathological, gamers must be damaging multiple areas of their lives," explains study author Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., developmental psychologist at Iowa State University in Ames.

Pathological gamers were playing an average of more than 31 hours a week compared with their less excessive peers who played about 19 hours a week.

Gentile and the other researchers also looked at potential risk factors for becoming pathological gamers.

"Kids who were more impulsive were more likely to become addicted; they had a harder time managing their impulse control. If they were socially awkward then they were more likely to be addicted and if they spent a greater amount of time then the average kids playing games," explained Gentile.

The Entertainment Software Association disagreed with the findings. " "There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and video games cause harm," a statement from the organization said. "In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications."

Dr. Don Shifrin, spokesperson with the American Academy of Pediatrics, called Gentile's study important. "It allows us to take a harder look at how gamers play and whether there is balance in the lives of our children and teens," he said

The AAP recommends that elementary school age children engage in no more than one hour of screen time a day, and high schoolers no more than  two.

soundoff (1,259 Responses)
  1. kayaking near me


    June 21, 2021 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. flower shop near me


    June 21, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 711 near me


    June 21, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Around Me


    June 21, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. moneygram near me


    June 21, 2021 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Places Near Me

    This page certainly has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 21, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Diesel Sprinter Repair Service


    June 21, 2021 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Orange County

    You're so cool! I don't think I've truly read something like this before. So great to discover someone with some original thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 21, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sprinter Van Conversion


    June 21, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Rv Upgrades Shop Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Air Conditioning Repair Near Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your website.


    June 21, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mercedes Sprinter Cowel Panel Rust Repair


    June 21, 2021 at 23:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Van Repair Abs

    Right here is the right webpage for everyone who would like to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that's been written about for decades. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    June 21, 2021 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. http://bonkersforhonkers.com

    Great article.

    Allso visit my webpage :: Shirts (http://bonkersforhonkers.com)

    June 21, 2021 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Mercedes Sprinter Cowl Panel Rust Repair


    June 22, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ford Van Repair


    June 22, 2021 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. wayerlotto

    Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

    June 22, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. adhd coach near me


    June 22, 2021 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Leave a Reply to Refugia Markell


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.