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Video Games Help Seniors Stay Happier And Healthier

2013.20.03

By Sarah Glynn - Medical News Today

Older adults who play video games are more likely to be happier and have better emotional health.

The finding came from a new study by experts from North Carolina State University and was published in Computers in Human Behavior.

According to the results, seniors who play video games reported increased levels of emotional well-being.

The authors wrote :

"The purpose of this investigation was to examine differences in psychological functioning (e.g., well-being, affect, depression, and social functioning) between older adults who play digital games compared to those older adults that do not play digital games."

The research involved 140 people, at least 63 years old, who were asked whether or not they played video games, and if so, how frequently.

In order to evaluate the emotional and social well-being of the volunteers, they were given a series of tests.

According to the results, 61% of the participants played video games at least occasionally, with 35% of subjects reporting to play at least once each week.

The scientists discovered that the volunteers who played video games, even those who said they just played occasionally, reported a better sense of well-being.

The seniors who did not play video games reported more negative emotions and a likelihood toward increased levels of depression.

Previous research suggested that video games called "exergames" - which combine game play with exercise - can help improve symptoms of depression in seniors.

Dr. Jason Allaire, lead author of a paper describing the study and an associate professor of psychology at NC State, said:

"The research published here suggests that there is 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 study was supported by the National Science Foundation.

A different study on video games published in PLOS ONE earlier this year demonstrated that doctors can benefit from playing games as well with improved performance in surgeries.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/257314.php

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