Aging Gamers & Well-Being

Don't let the grandchildren have all the fun with the game console. Grab the controller yourself and you just might boost your emotional health. Researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh found that seniors who play video games report higher levels of well-being.

The team asked 140 people aged 63 and older how often they played video games, if at all. The study participants then took a battery of tests to assess their emotional and social well-being. A somewhat surprising 61% of the participants played video games at least occasionally and 35% played at least once per week. Even the people who played only once in a while had an uptick in well-being. In contrast, those who didn't play video games at all reported more negative emotions and a tendency toward higher levels of depression.

A release from the university quotes lead author Dr. Jason Allaire as saying, “The research published here suggests that there's a link between gaming and better well-being and emotional functioning. We are currently planning studies to determine whether playing digital games actually improves mental health in older adults. ”

The paper, “Successful aging through digital games: Socioemotional differences between older adult gamers and non-gamers,” was published online in Computers in Human Behavior. "Differences among the groups were found for well-being, negative affect, social functioning, and depression with Regular and Occasional Gamers performing better, on average, than Non-gaming older adults. Findings suggest that playing may serve as a positive activity associated with successful aging," the authors wrote.

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