A recently published study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that people who use multiple media, like playing a video game while surfing the internet, are predisposed to depression and anxiety. The researchers, from Michigan State university, aren't sure which way the effect runs, in other words, they don't know whether using multiple media leads to those problems or if people with those problems gravitate towards using multiple media.
I got in contact with Mark Becker, a Michigan State psychologist and the lead on the study, to ask him how video games were different, if at all, from the other forms of media in the study. Here is the takeaway from his response:
"We found a weak but significant relationship between video game use and depression (but none for video game use and anxiety). So, it appears that there is a weak relationship with those who tend to play more video game reporting higher symptoms of depression, but it is weak."
So, my downbeat brothers and sisters, do you tend to pick up the controller when you're feeling a little blue? Or do you feel a little blue after you put the controller down? That's the question.
But! A 2011 study showed that casual gaming could actually help treat depression. But that study was funded by a game company. Whew, this complex modern world is enough to make you depressed!