Teens who play adult-rated video games could develop bad behavior, claims a new study.
Researchers from Dartmouth found that teenagers who play mature-rated, risk-glorifying video games are more likely subsequently to engage in a wide range of deviant behaviors beyond aggression, including alcohol use, smoking cigarettes, delinquency and risky sex.
The researchers conducted a longitudinal nationwide study involving more than 5,000 randomly sampled U.S. teenagers, who answered a series of questions over four years in telephone interviews. They looked at a number of factors, including the playing of three violent risk-glorifying video games (Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, Spiderman) and other mature-rated video games, and found that such games were associated with subsequent changes in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and suggest this is due, in part, to changes in the users' personality, attitudes and values, specifically making them more rebellious and thrill seeking.
Effects were similar for males and females and were strongest among the heaviest game players and those playing games with anti-social protagonists.
The study is published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.