The Influence of Video Games on the Mental Health of College Students and Adolescents

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Taylor, Andre

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As video games experience a rise in popularity, the issues of participating in this hobby become more concerning. For mental health, problems with video games can lead to an exacerbating effect on psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. This thesis gathers sources from across psychology and communication disciplines to determine the effects of video games on the mental health of adolescents and college students. This literature review finds that the effects of video games on the mental health of adolescents and college students are complex. I examined and compared the results of various studies over the last 20 years and offer conclusions and propose solutions to these issues. Using the existing literature, I show that playing video games obsessively can be an issue. However, in the absence of addiction, video games can be used to treat symptoms or aid therapists for mental health issues as they relate to psychiatric disorders. Simply playing video games will generally not affect college students or adolescents negatively. When paired with addiction or obsession, however, video games are correlated with the development of psychiatric disorders. But addiction and obsession are not defined by the amount of time that video games are played. In the case of depression, playing video games through an addiction or obsessively can worsen symptoms or correlate with their development. Some studies show anxiety can be correlated to video game addiction, and others show the opposite result. There is little research in this field of study, and as such, more studies and experiments should investigate this phenomenon. Specifically, research should be done to determine if video game addiction, usage, and psychiatric disorders are correlated and whether video games can be used by health professionals to combat these disorders.



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