A 2009 study by the Mental Health Advisory Team of the United States Army examined how activities like listening to music, working out, or using Facebook affected 1,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. At the end of the study, the activity that seemed to help the soldiers cope the best was playing videogames.
Soldiers that played games had the lowest rates of PTSD, domestic violence, depression, and suicide attempts. It's worth noting that these effects mostly went away in those that played over 28 hours a week. Those that played 40 hours per week were far more likely to be in some state of psychological distress. In moderation, however, games seemed to have positive effects.
While the study is acouple years old, it went mostly unreported on by the mainstream media. It recently came into the public eye when alternate reality game guru Jane McGonigal used it in her defense of gaming in the Wall Street Journal.
Jan 28, 2011