Study – Violent games can help people, soldiers cope with nightmares

Tuesday, 8th March 2011 20:15 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

An online survey conducted Jayne Gackenbach of Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada suggests that playing videogames that involve combat and war could help those in the military stave off nightmares and sleep better.

Speaking at GDC last week, Gackenbach polled 98 military personnel without pre-diagnosed mental disorders or PTSD, and found that those who played games like Call of Duty experienced less aggression and mental harm when they dreamt of war.

When compared to those who didn’t play shooters, soldiers who abstained found their dreams were more violent, and filled with feelings of helplessness.

The soldiers were divided into two groups based on the amount time spent gaming, and those in the “high gaming” group who played daily or several times a week tend to to be drawn to games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Red Dead Redemption. Those in the “low gamers” group played only a few times a year, and often only casual titles.

Gackenbach believes that playing violent games while awake works as a “threat simulator,” and provides the brain with a more intense outlet for dealing with stress and acts as a coping mechanism for soldiers who are in life threatening situations while awake.

“They’re taking (PlayStation 3′s, Xbox 360′s and other consoles) into the field and playing them all the time,” Gackenbachtold New Scientist. “And it turns out, there may be a good reason to let them do that.”

Thanks for the video, Kyle at Insolentboggle.



  1. Gekidami

    A study you’ll never see Fox News reporting.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. DSB

    Metal disorder, eh Steph? I got one of those, I can’t stop listening to the stuff.

    It is pretty interesting when you dive into the studies of non-combat casualties though. It does seem like people get attuned to war and violence in a way that gets them addicted. As opposed to the view that they’re traumatized in a traditional sense.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Kalain

    Metal Disorders? You mean they haven’t eaten any lead or something similar? :P

    Seriously, it’s reports like this, which are actually researched and balanced, never make it to the general public. I like to think that reports like this would change if, lets say, News Corp made a game with guns in it, then it would be ‘Games Help those who need it’ on Fox.

    Could say the same thing about the ‘Impartial’ BBC here in Blighty…

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Moonwalker1982

    Ah, this reminds of of a recent lecture. DEFINITELY one you will never see Fox News reporting…but then again, what the hell is Fox News? Lol.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Stephany Nunneley

    Actually I can’t stop listening to the the stuff either. Must be a Freudian thing.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Kyle Wrigley

    Awesome article, as a former Soldier I can tell you how true this is. With permission, Stephany, I’d like to feature this on

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Stephany Nunneley

    @6 Um sure. I am not the one that wrote it though. But have at it :)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. osric90

    Videogames are good, end of story.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Stephany Nunneley

    @6 Hey! I added your link to the video in there. Thanks :)

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Uncontested

    Funny… My friends ask me all the time how it is that I enjoy playing games like Battlefield and so on when I was in the shit myself in Iraq being former Infantry.. Maybe theres something to this study, time to up my shooter play lol.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. ultramega

    That’s awesome. Haven’t read the local paper, lately, but there’s probably something about this in there. I live in Edmonton after all. =)

    #11 4 years ago

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