If partners game together, their relationship is strengthened, a new study claims.
A Brigham Young University study surveyed 349 heterosexual couples in which at least one member played MMORPGs, and found reports of both positive and negative effects.
75% of couples in which only one member gamed complained online games were having an adverse effect, specifically in terms of reducing the amount of time spent together; interrupting sleeping patterns; and trivialising conversation.
Of those couples who game together, 76% reported a positive effect on their relationship as a result – although those who reported problems noted similar negative affects as the other group.
Researcher Neil Lundberg said it’s “common knowledge” that heavy gaming can disrupt relationships.
“Particularly when husbands are heavy gamers, it clearly has a negative impact on their marriages,” he claimed.
The survey found men gamed more than women; in couples with one gamer it was the husband 84% of the time, while in couples with two gamers, 73% of husbands gamed more than their wives.
Lundberg noted that it’s not the hours spent gaming that cause problems so much as a couple’s response to it.
“It’s not the hours that make a difference. It’s really what it does to the relationship – whether or not it creates conflict and quarrelling over the game,” he said.
The couples surveyed had an average age of 33 and an average marriage period of seven years.