Seniors Who Play Video Games Less Depressed: Study

Dennis Faas's picture

Personally, I find video games both relaxing and a lot of fun. And it appears that this isn't just the case for thirty-somethings like me; in fact, a new study shows that seniors who play video games are less likely to become depressed.

Researchers at North Carolina State University recently studied the impact video games had on people aged 63 and older.

Researchers separated the study's subjects (whose median age was 77) into three groups: regular gamers (who play games once a week), occasional gamers (who play games less than once per week), and people who never play video games.

Senior Gamers More Social, Happier Than Non-Gamers

The study's report, which was recently published in the journal "Computers in Human Behavior" and funded by the National Science Foundation, finds that regular and occasional gamers reported having higher levels of social functioning and overall well-being.

In comparison, non-gamers were more likely to report feeling depressed. (Source:

Critics have pointed out that this is a very small study and that the findings are limited. It's worth noting that people who already have active and highly social personal lives may be more likely to play video games than their non-gaming counterparts.

After all, video gaming is often a social activity.

Researchers See Links Between Gaming and Emotional Well-Being

Nevertheless, researchers believe the study provides important insights. "The research published here suggests that there's a link between gaming and better well-being and emotional functioning," notes Dr. Jason Allaire.

"We are currently planning studies to determine whether playing digital games actually improves mental health in older adults." (Source:

Helping Allaire to complete the study was NC State assistant professor of psychology Anne McLaughlin and a team of NC State Ph.D. students.

The researchers' final report, which is called "Successful aging through digital games: Socioemotional differences between older adult gamers and non-gamers," has been published online and can be accessed (for a fee) by clicking here.

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