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Objectives: To measure the daily hour prevalence of informal computer and video games use among Idaho youth, and to examine the association between usage hours and selected psychological variables, including feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and past suicide attempts.

Methods: Data analyses was performed on responses obtained via anonymous questionnaires from a sample of school children ages 12-18 (n=1,678) who completed the 2011 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey at randomly selected schools in Idaho.

Results: Analysis showed that males were more likely to report three or more hours of screen time per day, while a higher percentage of females than males reported experiencing psychological distress. Females engaging in three or more hours of daily screen time were more likely than boys to have in the past 12 months engaged in intentional self-harm behaviors, reported suicidal ideation or feelings of sadness or to have planned suicide.

Conclusions: Our findings confirm the inverse relationship between screen time and mental health. The data suggest that excessive recreational computer or video game use among females almost doubles the odds of significant mental health problems. Future research is needed to clarify the nature of these associations.

Journal Title

Journal of the Idaho Academy of Science





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First Department

Behavioral Sciences

Second Department

Social Work


Retrieved April 3, 2018, from

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Psychology Commons