The link between internet gaming and mental health problems is growing, according to a new study that looked at gaming and its effects on depression and anxiety.
Researchers from the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor School of Medicine found that online gaming can lead to a cascade of mental disorders, including depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
They also found that there were differences in the way people who played online had developed these symptoms.
Researchers say there are likely many other potential factors that influence how people experience depression and how online gaming affects them.
Online gaming, which is used by millions of people, is known to be one of the leading causes of depression and other mental health disorders, such as anxiety.
The study, which was published online Tuesday, used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which tracks about 20,000 people from ages 12 to 17, who participated in a survey about their gaming habits.
The researchers also looked at what role online gaming played in developing depression, anxiety and other symptoms.
“These results suggest that, in general, internet gaming may lead to depression, especially in adolescents, but also in younger adolescents,” lead researcher Jennifer Cottrell, M.D., said in a statement.
“There are also possible links between online games and negative emotional states, such to depression or anxiety.”
Cottrell and her co-author, Dr. Annette M. Ziebarth, M., from Emory University School of Nursing, examined a sample of about 5,400 people from the same group who completed a questionnaire.
They found that, overall, people who were more active online in the past year reported feeling more depressed, compared to those who weren’t online.
The research was published in the Journal of Adolescence.