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New Study Suggests Games Can Actually Add To The Stress

Do you play video games to de-stress after a long day? Unfortunately, a recent study indicates that this may not help at all.

As published in the Journal of Communication and cited by CBS News, it's possible that more media consumption (i.e., games) might make you feel worse, not better.

The study is called "The Guilty Couch Potato: The Role of Ego Depletion in Reducing Recovery Through Media Use" and it tries to prove that the "recovery experience" isn't beneficial to everyone. In fact, indulging in media like TV and video games can make people feel guilty, depressed, or frustrated. This state of "ego depletion" means the individual's willpower is exhausted, and he or she is more likely to feel tired and listless, and give in to temptations like fatty foods.

On the flip side, this argues that ego-depleted people who participate in sports, art, or various social events might feel better. Staying at home in front of the TV may invoke feelings of guilt, and researchers added that smartphones aren't helping people relax, either:

"In times of smartphones and mobile Internet, the ubiquitous availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource."

Well, the latter statement is absolutely true, as far as I'm concerned. As for games, it really matters what kind of person you are, and if you're "ego-depleted" to begin with.

Tags: video games, gaming industry, video game study, gaming culture

7/29/2014 10:38:05 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

DemonNeno
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:09:00 AM
Reply

Eh, that entirely depends on consumption. If I go into marathon mode, yes;I'm practically a zombie. Chunks of gaming (2hrs max) at a time always put me in a better mood. I feel accomplished, satisfied my hunger for gaming, and cleanse my mind of the days struggles.

Gaming for too long is about as rough on my mind as working a long shift at work while a sensation of unquenchable thirst to do something... All while feeling lazy and undetermined. Bizarre.

It's like anything else in life. Find your balance and acknowledge it.

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Corvo
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:24:55 AM
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I don't disagree. People take games way to seriously sometimes. A friend of mine, a rager, gets very stressed when he loses in games like The Last Of Us multiplayer and Dead or Alive.

I get people wanting to bring video games into a competitive level, but they were supposed to be about having a good time, not worrying about your KDR or whatever.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:28:32 AM

You should read the research article itself. It's quite interesting. It's not really about that sort of thing.

It's more about a person's ego and interpretation of self worth. It's about prolonging procrastination, feeling like time has been wasted, feeling guilty about it, whether or not it's a cycle of it's own version of depression, etc. What's more, it delves into, not just games, but media use in general.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 12:04:59 PM

Sometimes I catch myself taking finishing games too seriously, even feeling guilty when I haven't done it.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:25:42 AM
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Considering this is extension research and merely lays some groundwork for future studies to expand upon, it would be asinine to take one study as strict gospel.

I'm appalled (although not surprised) that CBS would use it as conclusive evidence. In short, this study says, "Hey, there's something to this, and I think there's enough evidence to suggest we delve deeper into the causes." In other words, it's a purely correlative study.

I, personally, expect further research would show there are many other variables at play.

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Masszt3r
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:26:40 AM
Reply

I remember the first time I fought against the Kratos clones in GoW 1 in god mode... yup, definitely did not make me feel good, although the feeling of finally doing it after dying 21 times was heavenly.

You don't need to do a research to know that some people get infuriated with games and can have a bad time. I'm pretty sure this has applied to quite a few gamers at least once in their video gaming experience, just as with any other aspect of life.

Last edited by Masszt3r on 7/29/2014 11:27:48 AM

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Underdog15
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:29:41 AM
Reply

People commenting should know it's not about getting mad at the game... That's not at all the direction of the research. Ben linked the article. Take a look....

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 11:34:18 AM
Reply

I know for a fact it lowers my stress level. Of course there are certain points in games where the stress level can get high. But when I am enjoying a game I feel at ease.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 12:03:46 PM
Reply

Oh yes I've experienced all of this, then I learned the secret. It depends on your mindset.

If you are in a mindset to have to win or have to complete a list of games or have to finish a mission or are playing a Souls game then it's media that is stressful on you.

If you sit back and say "You know what, I do this to enjoy myself" then put a smile on your face and play, letting what comes come, then it will destress you.

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Nas Is Like
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 9:33:01 PM
Reply

Yep, Tekken Revolution pissed me off more times than I can count.

That's why I stopped playing it.

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ProfPlayStation
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 9:40:13 PM
Reply

Yeah, people need to actually read the article or study. It's in the first paragraph:

"...entertaining media as a form of procrastination. The resulting guilt is negatively related to the recovery experience associated with using entertainment."

As in, "Well I just played Destiny for 5 hours straight. I really ought to have been putting in job applications. ... I'm such a loser. ... I guess I'll do that later, after I play more Destiny."

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Underdog15
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 12:28:31 AM

Yeah. This is what I was trying to say. lol :p

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Banky A
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 6:39:03 AM
Reply

That article is definitely a new take. I did not expect it to talk about ego depletion and procrastination.

Not really on base though. Lots things to consider.

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telly
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 11:07:23 AM
Reply

Balance in all things, folks. Mix it up, unplug for at least a few hours a day -- I find it helpful to keep my phone at least a few feet away from me, and preferably in another room altogether, for at least a few hours in the evening -- and be careful about how much time you spend playing video games later into the night. I know all too well the feeling to keep going, but in my experience it really gets your brain moving/problem-solving, when it's healthier to slow things down a bit, read, maybe put on a low-interest TV show as background noise you can ignore. My two cents!

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, August 01, 2014 @ 5:54:29 AM
Reply

idk about them but i find it a reliever in saying that though they ca give a bit o stressish type thing if u are playing a fast pased game but just playing a game like age of empires or ANNO are pritty chill its just when u take it too seriously that is when it c becomes stressfull especially boss fightes but generally not so much.

happy gaming

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