Psychological Profile of Adolescent Computer Game Players and Perceived Need Satisfaction and Associated Social Outcomes
The rapid growth of video game popularity has generated concern among practitioners and parents. Particularly during adolescence, when social interactions and academic success lay the groundwork for health in adulthood, there is concern that video games will interfere with the development of skills needed to make a successful transition to adulthood. Objective: The aim of the present study was to identify individual and gender differences in motives for engaging in various kinds of computer games among adolescents and to assess the ways in which computer game play is related to academic and social outcomes among Iranian youth. In particular, the impact of computer gaming on interpersonal relationships and perceived physical health and psychological well-being was examined. Methodology: Participants were selected through snowball sampling from 236 14- to 19-year olds. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire. Results: Findings revealed that most of the players were boys (69.68%). Male gamers spent an average of 7 hours 36 minutes playing per week, while female gamers spent an average of 3 hours 42 minutes playing per week. Boys tended to prefer ‘action’, ‘strategy’ and ‘sports’ games while girls engaged more in games involving ‘role playing’ and ‘puzzles’. Gender differences also emerged with regard to the reasons why adolescents play computer games: boys endorsed the need to acquire skill, need to display mastery, need to win and need for excitement, but girls indicated need for mood change, need for novel experiences and escape into fantasy. Computer game playing did appear to be associated with adverse effects on relations with parents and sleep disturbances in a sizeable proportion of the sample. Regression analysis revealed that frequency of play predicted the quality of relations with parents. Conclusions: Our results indicate that game play has different social implications for girls and boys who play.
Keywords: Computer Games, Motives, Impact, Gender Differences
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Mohaghegh Ardebili