Gamers are sad, sorry bunch of people?

People have a lot to say about gamers. As a gamer I tend to find most of their observations incorrect. Sure a few people are socially inept, and some are beyond obsessive, but come on, we’re just people! I don’t spend 5+ hours a day gaming. That might mean I’m not a gamer in some people’s eyes but that only proves that they know nothing about gamers. Now a new study has come out further showing how stereotypical the views of gamers are.

The Study

The average gamer is 35, overweight, and more likely to be depressed, says a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, which was carried out in the Seattle-Tacoma area, found that gamers reported “lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns.”

It also indicated a curious difference between male and female gamers: the former proved more overweight and reported more Internet usage than non-gamer men, while female gamers reported more depression and lower general health than non-gamer women.

But which comes first, the games or the poor health? The researchers hypothesized that depressed individuals might be turning to games as a means of self-medication, immersing themselves in a game’s world as a way of forgetting about real-life troubles.

“Habitual use of video games as a coping response may [provide] a genesis for obsessive-compulsive video-game playing, if not video-game addiction,” one researcher told MSNBC. The study calls for “further research among adults to clarify how to use digital opportunities more effectively to promote health and prevent disease.”

As luck would have it, a study at East Carolina University funded by Bejeweled maker Popcap Games is also investigating the possible mental health benefits of game playing. Having already discovered that Bejeweled can improve mood and heart rhythms, the Carolina group is about to embark on an investigation in an attempt to determine whether games like Bejeweled can also deliver clinically significant improvements to depression sufferers.

“The research is part of a broad array of unconventional efforts that video game companies are devising to find new markets for their products,” says Shankar Vedantam, writing this week for the Washington Post. “Many of these steps are based on the idea that depression and other disorders — as well as everyday stress and worry — involve systematic patterns of thought and self-doubt, and that games can distract people and put them in a different mental zone.”

According to this study, you can’t possibly be a healthy, well-adjusted happy person who happens to enjoy video games. Let’s be clear on something, I live in Seattle and I know for a fact that many people here are already sketchy when it comes to social skills. It’s a high tech place and by nature full of people who might already be of the “social retreating” kind. On top of that, the weather affects many which could explain the depression.

I’m sure their study was scientifically sound but I’m not really buying it. The gamers I know are fun people who like to socialize and unwind by playing games. Nothing wrong with that! Besides, we do come outside. I’m fit and fine, trust me! *Wink*

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