Study – Violent games help relieve stress, depression, hostility

Wednesday, 14th 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.





  1. Bloodyghost

    Its like when they say swearing helps when your hurt.

    Ive played fallout 3 when very angry or just loose and bam I feel better.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. jiykong

    Tell this to the kid who swears nonstop on live and he’ll tell his mom as an excuse to buy games.

    I used the same excuse long ago to get mortal combat… but my mom still wouldn’t get it for me.

    Just because Violent video games relieves stress doesn’t mean that its good. Only thing you’re doing is replacing violence with violence and that really doesn’t solve anything. Tell the person to go out and run/hangout with friends/etc. There’s millions of 10x healthier options than just sitting down on a couch and shooting random people.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. The_Red

    It’s actually true for me. I specially felt it during my teenage days when after a bad day, playing some Carmageddon would calm me like nothing had happened.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Superet

    Carmageddon – Is there anything it CAN’T do?

    #4 5 years ago
  5. DeSpiritusBellum

    @4 We really need a remake of that, like, yesterday.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Superet

    You are absolutely correct. I’ve been rooting for a PSP re-release for a long time.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Gama_888

    lol, explains a lot.
    wonder why iv been favouring the knife just recently in GTA4, maybe im depressed? :)

    #7 5 years ago
  8. The_Deleted

    File Under: Well Duuuuuurrrrrr!!!!!

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Dr.Freeman

    It’s like wearing a very tight shoes so that when u remove them u’ll feel relieved.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Wonko

    Yakuza 3+War God Amulet (Infinite Heat Moves)=Satisfaction!

    #10 5 years ago
  11. NinjaMidget

    @2 have to disagree on a couple of points you’ve made there. Perhaps you’re replacing violence with violence but has it occurred to you that computer games are works of fiction? And so the violence isn’t actually real. If you have a stress ball you are causing actual harm to that ball, the violence IS real, did you ever think of the stress balls feelings?

    And I think the purpose is that you don’t take your anger out on your friends or loved ones so hanging out could sometimes end badly. I’m not saying you should avoid all people but some alone time “killing” some bad guys sounds like a good idea!

    #11 5 years ago
  12. jiykong

    @11 Point Taken with the stress ball, and rolling back I think I was being a bit narrow minded in terms of what type of person I was thinking of. I was thinking a bit too much of uncontrollable angry man.

    But I believe this study is wrong not on the basis that games don’t relieve stress, but on the basis that everybody’s different. Some will find games relaxing and some will find it stressful. Heck 103 participants aren’t even enough to be considered legit.

    #12 5 years ago

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