Do video games affect college students' capability for suicide?

January 11, 2016
Credit: ©Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students in the U.S., and a new study suggests that students who play many hours of action video games in particular may be more capable of acting on suicidal thoughts. The study linking action video games, which usually involve violence and aggressive content, to acquired capability for suicide is published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

In "The Relationship Between Video Game Play and the Acquired Capability for Suicide: An Examination of Differences by Category of Video Game and Gender," Sean Mitchell, Danielle Jahn, Evan Guidry, and Kelly Cukrowicz, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, found no significant association between overall hours of video game play and acquired capability for suicide (ACS), and gender did not make a difference. However, when focusing on the action category of video games, the relationship between hours of game play and ACS became significant.

"When conducting suicide risk assessments, it is imperative that clinicians assess not only frequency of game usage, but also category of games most frequently played," says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium. "This may assist in improved detection of students at increased risk for lethal self-injury."

Explore further: Does moral decision-making in video games mirror the real world?

More information: The article is available free to download on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website until February 11, 2016.

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jiridrozd
not rated yet Jan 11, 2016
Has they thought about the causality of it? Because I would expect that the causal relationship is exactly opposite - that the students who have higher ACS play more action games as an effect of the overal mental state. Suggesting that playing the games increase ACS is unjustified.

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