Background: As adolescents spend much time on playing computer games, their mental and social effects should be considered. The present study aimed to investigate the association between playing computer games and the mental and social health among male adolescents in Iran in 2014.
Materials and methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted on 210 adolescents selected by multi-stage random sampling. Data were collected by Goldberg and Hillier general health (28 items) and Kiez social health questionnaires. The association was tested by Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and independent t-test. Computer games related factors such as the location, type, length, the adopted device, and mode of playing games were investigated.
Results: Results showed that 58.9% of the subjects played games on a computer alone for 1 h at home. Results also revealed that the subjects had appropriate mental health and 83.2% had moderate social health. Results showed a poor significant association between the length of games and social health (r = -0.15, P = 0.03), the type of games and mental health (r = -0.16, P = 0.01), and the device used in playing games and social health (F = 0.95, P = 0.03).
Conclusions: The findings showed that adolescents' mental and social health is negatively associated with their playing computer games. Therefore, to promote their health, educating them about the correct way of playing computer games is essential and their parents and school authorities, including nurses working at schools, should determine its relevant factors such as the type, length, and device used in playing such games.
Keywords: Computer games; Iran; male adolescents; mental health; psychological health; social health.