New Experimental Study Shows Violent Video Games May Increase Stress

Apparently, playing Call of Duty to cool down after a stressful day at work isn't the best idea...

The video gaming industry has been fighting against studies like this for years, and the new results might not make anything easier.

Laurent Bègue, part of the psychology department at the Pierre-Mendes-France University in Grenoble, and Youssef Hasan, researcher from Qatar University, conducted a study to see if violent video games increased stress in gamers through voice analysis

They asked 87 French university students to participate, both girls and boys. They were asked to play a violent (Condemned 2, Call of Duty 4, The Club) or a non-violent (S3K Superbike, Dirt 2, Pure) game, picked at random, for 20 minutes. After that, they were asked to read a distressing story about the Kurdish Genocide aloud. Their voice recordings were analyzed in order to determine their levels of emotional stress

The Study Concludes That...

The outcome: violent games in which players are being attacked made gamers more stressed. Laurent Bègue rubs it in at the end of the study, saying: 

"According to the uses and gratifications theory (Blumler & Katz, 1974), people choose media that will satisfy given needs and allow them to enhance knowledge, relaxation, social interactions/companionship, diversion, or escape. Future research may empirically examine the possibility that stressed players became distressed when they played violent video games." 

According to this study, violent games may prime gamers to have increased stress levels.


Avid console gamer and spirited writer.

Published Apr. 7th 2015
  • Ethan L
    I find it hilarious that gamers are still refusing to admit that video games have an effect on your mental state. Because it's totally reasonable to say that video games bring you a measure of enjoyment, which has a positive effect on your mental state, but video games in no way shape or form could possibly have any negative effects. Riiiiight.

    Google makes *billions* of dollars off of tiny little ads. People would not spend *billions* of dollars if what you see and hear does not have an affect on how you think and act. Advertisements WORK. And you really think a brief ad you saw for a few moments is more powerful than a virtual world you immerse yourself in for hours on end? LOGIC.

    Video games affect how you think, feel and even act. Both positively and negatively. Grow a pair, admit it, and then continue to play your games. How hard is that?
  • Victor Ren
    Video games have just as much of an effect on people as movies and books do in my opinion. Some people just take it better than others in that perspective.
  • amaadify
    Featured Contributor
    What a botched experiment. There are so many uncontrolled variables, I can't believe they called this a study, or felt that their results were conclusive in any way.
  • The Slow Gamer
    Exactly. It's hard without seeing the full study, but I'd like to see multiple measures of stress, like self-assessment, heartrate variability and skin conductance, and multiple stressors before drawing any conclusions.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    I've felt actual stress when playing a game, but dealing with a threat was not the cause. It was because the gameplay design in Evolve was utterly cruel and insane, putting everything against your favor unless you got extremely lucky. That's what stressed me out, not the fact it was violent.
  • topher339
    So they picked from what is probably the most stressful demographic society has to offer for a stress test. Even if playing violent games does induce stress, it can't be any large amount and I doubt it lasts for very long.
  • Si_W
    How old were the participants in this study?

    Is the picture of a child who looks to be about 12 appropriate for this article?

    Condemned 2 is an 18 certificate game. The Club is a 15 certificate game. Call of Duty 4 is a 16+ game. All of the above are UK video game ratings.

    Therefore the child depicted in the picture above should not legally be playing any of those games and if that age group was part of the study then the study itself should be called into question.
  • topher339
    The article said they used "university students" so I assume they mean college students. So probably anywhere from 18 to 22 or so years old. As if life wasn't stressful enough, they choose college students.
  • Si_W
    Aye, noticed that when re-reading it, which makes the picture illustrating the article completely inappropriate as previously stated.
  • topher339
    Indeed. It completely misrepresents the article and the information within.

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