Researcher on the hunt for gaming link to mental illness

NEW research will investigate the link between mental illness and young men playing multiplayer online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft, Everquest and Starcraft.

PhD social marketing researcher Rachel Sato believes these enormously absorbing and popular online games, which attract millions from across the world, can easily result in a dangerous addiction.

She said there were gamers who played 80 hours a week and mentioned a South Korean man who died of dehydration and exhaustion after playing for 50 hours straight.

The Queensland University of Technology researcher, who had her own brush with addiction at a young age, said young men were the most vulnerable.

"There is growing evidence that young men are more likely than young women to spend excessive amounts of time gaming, which can have negative effects on their mental health," she said.

"I am calling for participants who are male, aged between 18 and 25, who have recognised they have a problem with controlling the amount of time they spend in online games, or who have overcome it."

Ms Sato's interest in the subject stems from her own online gaming addiction as a teen.

To take part in the study email Ms Sato at r.sato@qut.edu.au.


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