Differences in associations between problematic video-gaming, video-gaming duration, and weapon-related and physically violent behaviors in adolescents.J Psychiatr Res. 2020 02; 121:47-55.JP
Seemingly mixed findings have been reported on possible relationships between video-gaming and violent or aggressive behaviors. Given the prevalence of gaming in adolescents and potential harms associated with violent behaviors, relationships between problematic gaming, gaming engagement, and risk behaviors involving weapons and physical violence require further research. This study examined in a large sample of high-school students the relationships between problem-gaming severity, gaming duration, and violence-related measures including weapon-carrying, having been threatened by someone with a weapon, perceived insecurity, physical fights and serious fights leading to injuries. Potential moderation by sensation-seeking and impulsivity was also tested. Participants were 3,896 Connecticut high-school adolescents. Chi-square, logistic regression, and moderation models were conducted. Adolescents with at-risk/problem gaming, compared to low-risk and non-gaming adolescents, reported more weapon-carrying, having been threatened with weapons, feeling unsafe at school, and serious fighting leading to injury. Among those reporting gaming, weekly time spent gaming was associated with problem-gaming severity. Those with longer (versus shorter) gaming durations were more likely to report weapon-carrying and feeling unsafe at school. Sensation-seeking moderated associations between at-risk/problem gaming and weapon-carrying frequency. Associations between gaming quantity and problem-gaming severity and measures of weapon-carrying and physical violence in adolescents suggest that understanding further their mechanistic relationships may be important in promoting safer developmental trajectories for youth. Future longitudinal studies may provide important insight into the etiologies underlying these relationships and such information may help develop more effective prevention and intervention strategies.