Sunday, March 31, 2013

Video game use and problem behaviors in boys with autism spectrum disorders

In a study found in "Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder" Volume 7, Issue 2, from the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri, psychologist want to know if there is a correlation between video games and problematic behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder. There have been many studies where psychologist have found a correlation between video game play >1hr and children with inattention and oppositional behavior. New research has suggested that children with ASD spend a majority of their free time using electronics, so this study took a sample of 169 boys, ages 8-18 with ASD. Parents reported on the functioning of their children's behavior as well of the amount of hours they played video games, including the genre.

Thy found that boys who played Role-Playing games were more likely to have oppositional behavior. This is the data: Results indicated that children in current sample spent an average of 2.4 h per day playing video games (M = 2.4, SD = 1.7), and that daily video game use was positively correlated with age (r = .23,p = .003). It was also noted that Action genre video games was most frequently chosen for their first choice. Other genres were, Platform(Star wars), Shooter, Puzzle, Role-playing, Sports, SImulation, Racing, Education, Adventure, Strategy, Fighting, and Music.

This study is the first to describe the relationships between aspects of video game play and problem behaviors among children with ASD. The results indicated that amount of game play alone was not associated with problem behaviors. The predictors of problem behaviors were shown to be video game genre and problematic, or addictive, qualities of play. Positive relationships were found between problematic video game use and both inattention and oppositional symptoms. Boys with ASD who primarily played Role-Playing games had significantly greater oppositional behaviors than those who did not play such games.

I find this interesting, but I wonder how necessary it was to do this particular study. Children with ASD are known to be prone to oppositional and inattention behavior. Previous studies from the past have found that video games, specifically Role-Playing and violent action games cause these types of behaviors in kids without ASD. I wonder if it can not be assumed that these types of games in excess would obviously cause more of this behavior in children that at prone to it from the development of ASD. 

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