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Oxford University Study Suggests Playing Video Games Can Improve Your Mental Health

Oxford University Study Suggests Playing Video Games Can Improve Your Mental Health

Over 3,000 gamers took part

Mike Diver

Mike Diver

A new study conducted at one of the UK's foremost universities has concluded that the playing of video games could be beneficial to an individual's mental health. And if that feels like something you've read before, it's because this is steadily becoming the predominant stance on gaming - chilling out or cutting loose in a virtual playground helps a whole lot of people to manage themselves.

The Oxford University study - headed by lead author Professor Andrew Przybylski - states that playing games can be good for your wellbeing and mental health. The study focused on games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, and its findings are based on 3,274 participants.

Summarising the study, its authors note: "Contrary to many fears that excessive game time will lead to addiction and poor mental health, we found a small positive relation between game play and well-being." They add that the study reveals "much-needed evidence to policymakers on the link between play and mental health".

Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville /
PopCap, EA

Przbylski said, as previously reported by Sky News: "Play can be an activity that relates positively to people's mental health - and regulating video games could withhold those benefits from players."

The study discovered that the social side of games like New Horizons contributed positively to players' wellbeing - which is something we could have told you (and have done) before now, but it's great to see academics proving the point.

Of course, the games used in this study are both pretty chilled experiences; but I know plenty of folk who blow off steam with shooters, or use sports games to socialise with pals they can't see in real life, right now. With some 2.7 billion people regularly playing video games worldwide, it's absolutely time that pervasive negative stigmas around the medium, the hobby, the profession in some cases (hi!), is cast aside.

Back in May, GAMINGbible ran some mental health-related content for Mental Health Awareness Week - and if you missed it then, here's some handy links:

What Playing Video Games Has Taught Me About Managing Mental Health
How Video Games Have Tackled Mental Health (video)

How Video Games Have Helped MeTo Cope With Anxiety

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo, CD Projekt Red

Topics: Animal Crossing, Mental Health