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More Than Just Fun and Games: The Longitudinal Relationships Between Strategic Video Games, Self-Reported Problem Solving Skills, and Academic Grades

Abstract

Some researchers have proposed that video games possess good learning principles and may promote problem solving skills. Empirical research regarding this relationship, however, is limited. The goal of the presented study was to examine whether strategic video game play (i.e., role playing and strategy games) predicted self-reported problem solving skills among a sample of 1,492 adolescents (50.8 % female), over the four high school years. The results showed that more strategic video game play predicted higher self-reported problem solving skills over time than less strategic video game play. In addition, the results showed support for an indirect association between strategic video game play and academic grades, in that strategic video game play predicted higher self-reported problem solving skills, and, in turn, higher self-reported problem solving skills predicted higher academic grades. The novel findings that strategic video games promote self-reported problem solving skills and indirectly predict academic grades are important considering that millions of adolescents play video games every day.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Luke Doner for his assistance in providing information regarding strategic video game play. Teena Willoughby acknowledges funding received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Owl Children’s Trust.

Author’s Contributions

PA conceived the study, conducted most of the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. TW collected the data and participated in the statistical analyses as well as the drafting of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Paul J. C. Adachi.

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Adachi, P.J.C., Willoughby, T. More Than Just Fun and Games: The Longitudinal Relationships Between Strategic Video Games, Self-Reported Problem Solving Skills, and Academic Grades. J Youth Adolescence 42, 1041–1052 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-9913-9

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Keywords

  • Problem solving
  • Academic performance
  • Video games
  • Adolescent development