Research finds that gaming improves mental health

A survey done by a research agency found that three in five gamers think it improves their mental health.

Opinium Research found that perhaps surprisingly, gamers with better mental health game for longer during a typical week.

Cameron Hatter, Researcher in the Gaming Team, said: “It is hugely positive to see the mental health benefits linked with gaming.

“These findings will perhaps help set minds at rest for parents who are considering purchasing the latest video games for their families this Christmas.

As part of the survey, participants were asked to rate their mental health from a 0 (being the worst) and 10 (being the best).

The research found that those who rated themselves 0-3, were likely to play an average of 8.2 hours of video games in a week, and were likely to spend £19.20 on video games in a typical month.

The opposite was true for their counterparts.

Those that said 9 or 10, spent over an hour longer than those with worse mental health, and their average monthly spend also increased to £24.20.

When looking at why people game, nearly half of gamers agreed that gaming helps reduce stress, whilst a further 47% said it is a way to escape the “real world” and distract themselves.

Those with better mental health mentioned that gaming was less used as a form of escapism.

However, those with worse mental health use gaming as a form of escapism much more.

Over half of gamers said they play video games to keep their mind active and nearly half (45%) said it is because it helps them get away from everyday worries. 

Almost half of people said that they feel accepted in the gaming world, which can be a worry for any parent.

Around 62% of gamers interviewed were parents.

Fewer than half (42%) mentioned that they actually game with their children, and see it as a bonding activity.

Hatter added: “With the emotional impact of Covid-19 and all the life restrictions that came with it, focus on mental health has never been as prevalent or important as it is today. 

“The overall gaming popularity increased by 63% over lockdown.

“With that in mind, it’s encouraging that this seems to be having a positive impact on gamers.”

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