Prospective Investigation of Video Game Use in Children and Subsequent Conduct Disorder and Depression Using Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

Pete J Etchells, Suzanne H Gage, Adam D Rutherford, Marcus R Munafo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
306 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is increasing public and scientific concern regarding the long-term behavioural effects of video game use in children, but currently little consensus as to the nature of any such relationships. We investigated the relationship between video game use in children, degree of violence in games, and measures of depression and a 6-level banded measure of conduct disorder. Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were used. A 3-level measure of game use at age 8/9 years was developed, taking into account degree of violence based on game genre. Associations with conduct disorder and depression, measured at age 15, were investigated using ordinal logistic regression, adjusted for a number of potential confounders. Shoot-em-up games were associated with conduct disorder bands, and with a binary measure of conduct disorder, although the strength of evidence for these associations was weak. A sensitivity analysis comparing those who play competitive games to those who play shoot-em-ups found weak evidence supporting the hypothesis that it is violence rather than competitiveness that is associated with conduct disorder. However this analysis was underpowered, and we cannot rule out the possibility that increasing levels of competition in games may be just as likely to account for the observed associations as violent content. Overall game exposure as indicated by number of games in a household was not related to conduct disorder, nor was any association found between shoot-em-up video game use and depression.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0147732
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Tobacco and Alcohol

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