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From killing to living: video games, genres, and their effects on anxiety

Author: 
Ummang Sharma Bajpai
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) video games are easily accessible and widely used. Yet, there is limited literature about the effects these video games have on the anxiety levels of a general population of adults. With an increase in online presence and an advancement in technology, these video games have the potential to be used in mental healthcare settings, reducing cost, and increasing access. Aims: This study aims to investigate whether COTS video games have a measurable effect on the anxiety levels of young adults. It also probes if the genre of video games played make a difference to the kind of effect they have on anxiety. Methods: Participants (n=41) were split into two groups at random, with Group A (n=21) playing an action game and Group B (n=20) playing a non-action game. Each participant played the video game for an hour. A state anxiety test was administered before and after the gameplay. The difference between these scores for each participant was calculated as impact scores. This quantitative data was analyzed by through statistical testing using t-tests and correlation analysis. Results: For both participants with positive and negative change, the paired samples t-test results (Positive: t19=7.109, p<0.01; Negative: t20=-6.415, p<0.01) indicated a significant change in anxiety scores. The difference between the impact scores of Groups A and B was found to be not significant. Further, a negative correlation was found between pre-test scores and impact scores. Conclusion: COTS video games have a significant effect on the anxiety levels of young adults, irrespective of genre.

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