Video games can increase well-being – healing practice

Video games appear to improve mental health

Tired of your job, everyday life or the corona pandemic? An English research team suggests a simple and apparently effective solution: just turn on the video game console and play a bit. Because the time spent with video games was positively associated with well-being in a recent study.

Time spent playing video games can be good for your wellbeing. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at Oxford University in a recent study study. At least this applies to the games “Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”. In the first study of its kind, the research team evaluated industrial data collected from the games and linked this information with the well-being of the 3,274 participants.

Game data was made available

Instead of asking the players how much time they spend playing video games, the researchers used the data provided by the game companies “Electronic Arts” and “Nintendo of America” ​​to know exactly how long the individual test subjects spent in the respective games . In a comprehensive survey, the participants should then report on their well-being.

Positive and shared experiences are more important than playing time

It found that those who say they enjoy video games are more likely to report better wellbeing when they spend time playing video games. Well-being was greatest among those who had positive experiences in the games, such as making new contacts or playing with friends. The results suggest that playing in conjunction with social contacts in particular can contribute to people’s well-being.

Earlier study results could be colored

“Previous research has relied mainly on self-reports to examine the relationship between play and wellbeing,” explains lead researcher and lead study author Professor Andrew Przybylski. These self-reports are tarnished by incorrect assessments or by widespread views, for example from parents or political decision-makers. That influences the evidence of studies.

First study of this kind

“Our results show that video games are not necessarily bad for your health; there are of course other psychological factors that have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing, ”says the professor. By working with the well-known game companies, the specialist knowledge of science and industry could be combined in a meaningful way. For the first time, it was possible to create an uncolored relationship between playing time, gaming behavior and well-being based on real data.

Are video games violent and addicting?

Video games sometimes have a bad reputation. They have been suspected in the past of promoting acts of violence or of being addictive. Another study by researchers at Brigham Young University showed that general demonization is exaggerated. Over 90 percent of the people examined who regularly play video games do not have to fear any harmful or negative long-term consequences. Only a small proportion of gamblers develop harmful gambling addiction (see article: Video games are addicting).

When is there a video game addiction?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a so-called “gaming disorder” only occurs if conspicuous behavioral patterns of sufficient severity occur over a period of at least 12 months in the course of gaming. Typical signs of addiction to games are significant impairments in personal, family, social, educational and / or professional areas. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Oxford Internet Institute (OII): Groundbreaking new study says time spent playing video games can be good for your wellbeing (veröffentlicht: 16.11.2020),
  • Niklas Johannes, Matti Vuorre, Andrew Przybylski: Video game play is positively correlated with well-being; in: PsyArXiv, 2020,
  • Coyne, Sarah M.,Stockdale, Laura A.,Warburton, Wayne,Gentile, Douglas A.,Yang, Chongming,Merrill, Brett M.: Pathological video game symptoms from adolescence to emerging adulthood: A 6-year longitudinal study of trajectories, predictors, and outcomes., in Developmental Psychology, 2020,
  • WHO: Addictive behaviours: Gaming disorder (veröffentlicht: 14.09.2018),

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.


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