Gaming Increases Happiness in the Elderly

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Does playing video games make you a happier person? If you are a senior age 63 or older, the answer is probably yes, according to a new study released by North Carolina State University.

The researchers polled 140 seniors to determine how often they play video games, if at all. Over 60% reported playing games occasionally, while 35% reported playing at least once per week. This number is significantly higher than it was ten years ago, and can be attributed mainly to the Nintendo Wii, which has turned many families into groups of gamers. The seniors were then tested to determine their emotional and social health and well-being.

The results showed that the seniors who played games, even the ones who did not play on a regular basis, were generally happier than the ones who did not play. Seniors who reported not playing games had more negative emotions and a tendency towards depression.

“The research here suggests that there is a link between gaming and well-being and emotional function,” said Dr. Jason Allaire, Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University. The study, titled “Successful aging through digital games: Socioemotional differences between older adult gamers and non-gamers,” was published this week in the online journal Computers in Human Behavior.