Study finds excessive gamers more depressed

Monday, 9th January 2012 05:46 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Early results from an Australian study show those who game to excess report greater levels of depression and anxiety.

The study, which is being conducted by Daniel Loton at Victoria University, examines “academic results, relationships and physical and mental health” across two groups of gamers – those who spend 21 hours or less per week on gaming, and those who squeeze in more than that.

The latter group has reported 25% more depression and 15% more stress and anxiety. Excessive gamers were also found to be more likely to use games as a “coping mechanism” to escape from problems.

Loton said in a statement that past studies had shown above-average stress, anxiety and depression in both groups.

“But most alarming was that excessive gamers scored more than half the maximum measure for each and enough to determine clinical significance,” he continued.

The study has not determined how serious the reported problems are, or whether excessive gaming is a contributive factor. Cheeringly, Loton has found no correlation between gaming and success at work or study, instead noting excessive gamers out-perform their own expectations academically.

Research is ongoing, and more participants are sought, with an AUD $500 prize on the line for those who complete a full course of surveys. Visit to sign up.




  1. Talkar

    Who is funding Victoria University to do the study?

    #1 3 years ago
  2. tenthousandgothsonacid

    It’s a chicken and egg situation.

    Could just be that depressed folk want to escape from their normal lives by playing more games.

    See also : violent nut jobs being attracted to FPS shooters.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. BraveArse

    @2 was just about to post the exact same thing. In fact I’d wager that’s exactly the way it works.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Dannybuoy

    I dont usually game late at night but I’m addicted to Uncharted 3 multiplayer at the mo, had a few nights playing before bed. It gives me terrible insomnia. As I can see it in my head when I go to sleep. I can see how excessive gaming could definitely lead to further mental health issues (sleep deprivation is a major contributor).

    #4 3 years ago
  5. dubya75

    Australia seems to be on a mission against gaming in general, so this little “study” doesn’t surprise me one bit!
    There are many things – when done in excess – that could lead to mental problems, such as having to watch Australian TV…

    Anyone wasting an entire day a week on gaming probably has some underlying problems NOT caused by gaming.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. viralshag

    I imagine there’s a lot of people on this site that are both excessive gamers, who don’t have any of the reported symptoms above.

    I think it really depends on the person. I do game excessively, easily more than 21 hours a week I reckon. I just find the balance of time to do that and other activities as go to the gym and see friends… as well as work.

    I think it’s unhealthy when you can’t “sacrifice” game time for other things. Gaming is a top time waster for me in terms of what I most like to do but it’s also lowest on my list of actual priorities.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. ManWithNoName

    Everything in excess is bad. Food, sex, religion, games. There are people who have problems with game addiction. We, gamers, need to stop to treat every research saying videogames may be harmful as political agenda and read those studies. I agree with #2 that may be that depressed people play more games. But only more research can say for sure.

    Please visit

    #7 3 years ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    I don’t see the value of this study or conclusions drawn from it in isolation.

    See, I read this and I think “what are you getting at, surely this is largely true of anyone who habitually spends excessive amounts of time in isolated solitary pursuits?”.

    *clicks link*

    Oh right, the answer is: this is for a PhD. We’re talking about 1 guy trying to get enough data to write a thesis on. Ideally such a study would take a variety of outlets and compare them in order to draw a wider and more valid conclusion on whether or not there are links to spending a lot of time gaming alone and how it compares to doing a lot of other shit alone.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DSB

    Are they unhappy because they drink, or do they drink because they are unhappy?

    One in four being depressed really isn’t that much. That’s the estimate for depression among children in the US. 10% of the population suffer a depression each year, with virtually no one going free.

    The saddest thing is possibly that this study will give way to headlines like these, without ever considering the context of what is really a pretty low number.

    I’d imagine the stats being a lot worse for math teachers. Another waste of time that I feel should be banned for all of our sakes.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. OrbitMonkey

    ^ You poor misguided fool, Algebra will set you free!!

    #10 3 years ago
  11. ManuOtaku

    Of course is depressing, man you know how many good tittles are on the three consoles right now, without counting the backlog, i dont find free time to play all my games, this weekend alone i did play mario kart on wii with my kids online, battlefield 3, uncharted 3, house poker on 360, and guitar hero on my ps2, and this without counting skyrim, assasins creed revelations, rayman origin, call of duty MW3, batman AA and gears of war 3 ,etc I let those on cold becuase i didnt had that much time available, take into account that i did play 16+ hour on two days, of course is depressing, stop making so many good games on yearly basis.

    #11 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.