Science

Seniors Who Play Video Games Are Happier, Healthier

By Matthew Klickstein , Mar 06, 2013 08:16 AM EST
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It might actually be a good idea to let Grandma have a little extra time on your PlayStation. It may help her "emotional well-being."

Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that elderly people who play video games are emotionally stronger than those who don't.

News of the study was released by NC State on Tuesday, March 5 and involved 140 persons aged 63 and older.

All were asked how often they play video games, if at all. 61 percent of those asked said they play video games "occasionally," whereas 35 percent said they play "at least once a week."

After answering the question, the older folks were interviewed about other aspects of their lives that led researchers to better understand their emotional and social health.

Research culled from the study determined that the elderly interviewees who play video games - even occasionally - do have a higher degree of emotional well-being. Those who do not play video games reported having more negative feelings overall and are more likely to suffer from depression.

"The research published here suggests that there a link between gaming and better well-being and emotional functioning," Dr. Jason Allaire, lead author of a paper, said.

"We are currently planning studies to determine whether playing digital games actually improves mental health in older adults," says Dr. Allaire who is also an associate professor of psychology at NC State.

The paper, entitled "Successful aging through digital games: Socioemotional differences between older adult gamers and non-gamers" was published via online periodical Computers in Human Behavior this week and was co-authored by another associate professor of psychology at NC State, Dr. Anne McLaughlin.

Others who contributed to the paper include: Amanda Trujillo, Laura Whitlock and Landon LaPorte (all students) and Georgia Institute of Technology's Dr. Maribeth Gandy.

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