Study – Violent games help relieve stress, depression, hostility

Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:53 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


A study conducted by Texas A&M International University has found depression, hostility, and stress was diminished in male and female young adults who played violent games.

Conducted by associate professor, Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, the 103 participants who took part in the study were given a frustrating task which was followed by a non-violent game, no game, a violent game where the player was evil, or a violent game with good versus evil themes.

Those who played a violent game, according to Dr. Ferguson, had reduced levels of “depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management”.

Ferguson said the results could provide some with an alternative way to tolerate or reduce stress.

“It probably won’t come to a surprise to gamers that playing games may reduce stress,” Ferguson said, “although others have been skeptical of this idea. This is the first study that explores this idea, however.

“It does seem that playing violent games may help reduce stress and make people less depressed and hostile.”

Ferguson admitted the results were correlational and more research was needed, but suggested game therapy with young adults and teens could be beneficial. Such therapy could work by helping people cope with real-life frustrations, thus calming them down before the stress caused hostility or aggressive behavior.

In other words, next time you feel the need to punch your boss, your spouse starts acting like a jerk, or traffic has you ready to go atop a building with a sniper rifle –  go into the living room and pop in a violent game and start killing things.

It will make you feel better.