Teens’ Motivations For Video Game Play
What motivates teens to play video games? A Motivation & Emotion study provides an answer to this question, and shows that teens mainly play video games for reasons of social interaction and stress reduction. Interestingly, teens with depression or ADHD symptoms experience stress reduction as a more important motivator for playing video games than other teens.
- Teens’ most important motivations to play video games are social interaction and stress reduction.
- They prefer playing violent video games because of its fun and challenging aspects and because it reduces feelings of stress. Their motivation for social video game play is driven by social interaction as well.
- For teens with depression or ADHD symptoms stress reduction is a more important motivator for game play than for other teens.
- For game developers it’s important to understand what motivates people to play their created games, in order to target their games more effectively.
What motivates teens to play video games?
1,254 seventh and eighth grade students (mean age: 12 years old; 47% men)
The middle Atlantic States, US
The teens filled out an online survey that revealed their motivations to play video games, their preference for certain video games (i.e., violent games), and their preference for playing games together with others (i.e., social video game play). Teens’ symptoms of depression and ADHD were assessed as well.
Facts and findings
- Four important motivations to play video games:
- social interaction
- stress reduction (also referred to as catharsis)
- fun and challenge
- Social interaction and stress reduction were teens’ most important motivations to play video games.
- Teens who preferred playing video games together with others (in person and on the internet), were mostly driven by social interaction, the fun and challenging aspects of the game, and by its positive influence on stress.
- Teens who preferred playing violent games, were mostly boys, and mainly driven by its fun and challenging aspect and the feeling of stress reduction.
- Children with depression or ADHD symptoms more often played video games for reasons of stress reduction, however, they did not play more (violent) games than others.
- Critical note: This study does not allow for any conclusions about cause (motivations to play video games) and effect (preference for certain game play). The results only show that some motivations for game play are associated with certain game play preferences and cannot say anything about what causes what.