As the amount of time playing video games goes up, the quality of relationships with peers and parents slides, according to a new study.
Brigham Young University undergrad Alex Jensen and his faculty mentor, Laura Walker have connected young adults' use of video games to poorer relationships with friends and family.
The study has been published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
The research is based on information collected from 813 college students.
"It may be that young adults remove themselves from important social settings to play video games, or that people who already struggle with relationships are trying to find other ways to spend their time," Walker said.
"My guess is that it's some of both and becomes circular," the researcher added.
Study participants reported how often they play video games. They also answered a battery of questions measuring relationship quality, including how much time, trust, support and affection they share with friends and parents.
But the researchers say video games do not themselves mean "game over" for a relationship because the connection they found is modest.
"Relationship quality is one of a cluster of things that we found to be modestly associated with video games. The most striking part is that everything we found clustered around video game use is negative," Walker said.
Statistical analyses also revealed that the more young adults play video games, the more frequent their involvement in risky behaviors like drinking and drug abuse.
Young adults who played video games daily reported smoking pot almost twice as often as occasional players, and three times as often as those who never play.
For young women, self-worth was low if their video game time was high.