Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 5 Issue 3 (August 1995), Pages fmi-fmi, 147-217

Computer games, self‐esteem and gratification of needs in adolescents (pages 195-206)


Playing computer games has become an increasingly popular leisure time activity amongst adolescents, but concerns have been expressed over possible associated consequences. One research area has investigated reasons for playing, and two prior explanations relate it to the functional concepts of ‘electronic friendship’ and ‘self‐esteem’. A questionnaire study was conducted among 120 adolescents to obtain information on a number of measures including gratification of needs and self‐esteem. Results showed that playing computer games is equally popular with males and females, but males spend more time on it. Positive correlations between playing and items on the needs scales were obtained. In particular males who were heavy players scored highly on the ‘preference to friends’ need, but interestingly they were also likely to see their friends more often outside school, thus providing no support for the theory that computer games are taking the place of normal social interaction. For females there was evidence of a negative relationship between self‐esteem and need gratification through playing computer games. However more adolescents spend much more time watching television than playing computer games. These results are discussed in the context of previous research.

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