Electronic gaming and psychosocial adjustment

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in



Andrew K. Przybylski

Publication date


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The rise of electronic games hasdriven both concerns and hopes regarding their potential to influenceyoung people. Existing research identifies a series of isolated positiveand negative effects, yet no research to date has examined the balanceof these potential effects in a representative sample of children andadolescents. The objective of this study was to explore how time spentplaying electronic games accounts for significant variation in positiveand negative psychosocial adjustment using a representative cohort ofchildren aged 10 to 15 years.METHODS: A large sample of children and adolescents aged 10 to 15years completed assessments of psychosocial adjustment andreported typical daily hours spent playing electronic games. Relationsbetween different levels of engagement and indicators of positive andnegative psychosocial adjustment were examined, controlling for participantage and gender and weighted for population representativeness.RESULTS: Low levels (,1 hour daily) as well as high levels (.3 hoursdaily) of game engagement was linked to key indicators of psychosocialadjustment. Low engagement was associated with higher lifesatisfaction and prosocial behavior and lower externalizing and internalizingproblems, whereas the opposite was found for high levelsof play. No effects were observed for moderate play levels whencompared with non-players.CONCLUSIONS: The links between different levels of electronic gameengagement and psychosocial adjustment were small (,1.6% of variance)yet statistically significant. Games consistently but not robustlyassociated with children’s adjustment in both positive and negativeways, findings that inform policy-making as well as future avenues forresearch in the area.

Volume and page numbers

134, 716-722






Science And Technology, Young People, Well Being and Social Behaviour


Open Access article

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