Trends in Video Game Play through Childhood, Adolescence, and Emerging Adulthood

Psychiatry J. 2013:2013:301460. doi: 10.1155/2013/301460. Epub 2013 Mar 20.


This study explored the relationship between video gaming and age during childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood. It also examined whether "role incompatibility," the theory that normative levels of substance use decrease through young adulthood as newly acquired adult roles create competing demands, generalizes to video gaming. Emerging adult video gamers (n = 702) recruited from video gaming contexts in New York City completed a computer-assisted personal interview and life-history calendar. All four video gaming indicators-days/week played, school/work day play, nonschool/work day play, and problem play-had significant curvilinear relationships with age. The "shape" of video gaming's relationship with age is, therefore, similar to that of substance use, but video gaming appears to peak earlier in life than substance use, that is, in late adolescence rather than emerging adulthood. Of the four video gaming indicators, role incompatibility only significantly affected school/work day play, the dimension with the clearest potential to interfere with life obligations.