Video Games Help Teens Cope With Academic Stress

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by PsyPost.

A recent study published in the journal Deviant Behavior has found a significant relationship between academic stress and increased video game use among adolescents. The research indicates that this connection is influenced by the adolescents’ confidence in their gaming abilities, suggesting that video games may serve as a coping mechanism for academic pressures.

The study, led by Yeungjeom Lee of the University of Texas at Dallas, aimed to examine how stress and gaming efficacy jointly affect video game overuse. The researchers utilized data from the Game User Panel administered by the Korea Creative Content Agency, which included a longitudinal sample of 801 adolescents from South Korea. The participants, ranging from 10 to 16 years old, provided data over five years, from 2014 to 2018.

The study focused on two types of stress: academic and peer-related. Academic stress encompassed concerns over grades, exams, and schoolwork, while peer stress involved difficulties in communication and bullying. The researchers measured excessive gaming using a 20-question survey assessing behaviors such as neglecting responsibilities and social life due to gaming. Gaming efficacy, or the belief in one’s ability to succeed in video games, was also measured.

The findings indicated a strong link between academic stress and increased video game use. Adolescents experiencing higher levels of academic stress were more likely to engage in excessive gaming. This relationship, however, was not observed with peer-related stress, which did not show a significant connection to gaming behavior.

A crucial element that the researchers identified was the moderating effect of gaming efficacy. Gaming efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to succeed at playing video games. The study found that adolescents with higher gaming efficacy were more likely to use video games as a coping mechanism in response to academic stress. This suggests that for those who feel competent and successful in the gaming environment, video games serve as an effective escape from the pressures and frustrations associated with their academic challenges.

The study highlights that video games provide a structured environment with clear goals and immediate rewards, which can be particularly appealing to adolescents who face ongoing academic pressures.

Source: PsyPost

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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