Last week, I asked everyone to take a short survey for a project of mine on video games and coping. Now that I’ve survived writing my paper, it’s time to let you all know how it turned out.
I should probably start with a simple breakdown. Of 13 respondents:
- 31% were male / 69% female
- 8% were aged 18-14 / 38% 25-30 / 23% 31-40 / 31% were over 40
- No one under the age of 18 responded
- 23% played <1 hour a week / 8% played 2-5 hours / 38% played 6-9 hours / 31% played over 10 hours a week
I find it very interesting that society views gamers as adolescent boys…and yet, the majority of my respondents were women and over 30. This is a small sample…made up of my friends and readers…so it’s not really reliable, but still. It’s interesting.
Looking at the results, it seems as though many people use video games to deal with stress (not surprising, given the sample). Most respondents felt some or a lot of discomfort before playing games. Afterward, the majority felt none or little. When I looked at the individual responses of those who said they had a lot of discomfort before playing, their level of discomfort moved to a little or none after gaming.
The interesting part is that most people who took my survey did not feel overwhelmed emotionally, and they did not report having a hard time dealing with emotional discomfort. This could possibly be because they have identified gaming as a coping strategy, and use it to deal with their emotional discomfort before it gets out of hand.
Everyone who took the survey gave positive responses to video games (it makes sense..since all of the people who took the survey are either reading a geek blog or are my friends). All of the responses to the item “I find playing video games enjoyable” gave a response of agree or strongly agree. Most stated that they felt better emotionally after playing video games, and that they feel comfortable while playing video games. Many stated that they even felt energized after playing video games. Gaming with friends and in-game accomplishments also seemed to generate a strong, positive response.
Women reported more stress before a gaming session, and seemed to have a stronger coping response to games than men did.
People who played more hours of games a week (6-9 or 10+) had a stronger coping response to gaming as well, and had more positive responses to the questions about gaming making them feel better, energized, or accomplished.
Those who had some or a lot of stress before a gaming session were more likely to feel overwhelmed emotionally, have a hard time dealing with emotional discomfort, and to feel misunderstood. They were also the most likely to have a significant decrease in discomfort level after gaming.
Something I found surprising was the level of emotional discomfort during a gaming session. Most people indicated little discomfort, and a few reported some. I was expecting less. A teenage client of mine and I were on an outing and my project came up. He had the perfect explanation for this data. “It don’t work when you’re losing!”
I should listen to his wisdom more often.
I’m not a researcher. I hate crunching numbers and creating surveys. But because I was given the freedom to pick a topic I found interesting…it was more enjoyable.
If anyone wants to run this study for real…lemme know and you can have it. I, however, will be staying away from research now that this class is over and done with.
I’d much rather be helping others use games to cope….and using them myself.
I think it’s time for some WoW…