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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 301460, 7 pages
Research Article

Trends in Video Game Play through Childhood, Adolescence, and Emerging Adulthood

1School of Social Work, Adelphi University, P.O. Box 701, 1 South Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530, USA
2Institute for Special Populations Research, National Development and Research Institutes, New York, NY, USA

Received 17 January 2013; Accepted 18 February 2013

Academic Editor: José Francisco Navarro

Copyright © 2013 Geoffrey L. Ream et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study explored the relationship between video gaming and age during childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood. It also examined whether “role incompatibility,” the theory that normative levels of substance use decrease through young adulthood as newly acquired adult roles create competing demands, generalizes to video gaming. Emerging adult video gamers ( ) recruited from video gaming contexts in New York City completed a computer-assisted personal interview and life-history calendar. All four video gaming indicators—days/week played, school/work day play, nonschool/work day play, and problem play—had significant curvilinear relationships with age. The “shape” of video gaming’s relationship with age is, therefore, similar to that of substance use, but video gaming appears to peak earlier in life than substance use, that is, in late adolescence rather than emerging adulthood. Of the four video gaming indicators, role incompatibility only significantly affected school/work day play, the dimension with the clearest potential to interfere with life obligations.