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Non-Digital Game Playing by Older Adults*

  • W. Ben Mortenson (a1) (a2) (a3), Andrew Sixsmith (a4) (a5) (a6) and David Kaufman (a4) (a7)

Research on video games’ effect on cognition and behaviour has been extensive, yet little research has explored non-digital forms of game playing, especially among older adults. As part of a larger survey on game playing, 886 respondents (≥ age 55) filled out questionnaires about non-digital game play. The study aims were to determine perceived benefits of non-digital game play and to determine socio-demographic factors that might predict perceived benefits. Survey results indicate that non-digital game playing is social in nature and common (73% of respondents) among older adults. Older adults play for fun, but also to help maintain their cognition. Regression analyses indicated various socio-demographic factors – age, education, gender, and race – were independently associated with perceived benefits from game playing. The results thus emphasize the importance of non-digital game playing in this population and suggest that efforts to facilitate game playing may improve social interactions and quality of life.

Les jeux sont une activité de loisirs importante qui peut contribuer à la qualité de vie et à l’interaction sociale. Bien qu’il y ait eu de nombreuses recherches sur les effets des jeux vidéo sur la cognition et le comportement, peu de recherches ont exploré des formes non-numériques de jeu qui ne nécessitent pas l’utilisation d’ordinateurs ou de systèmes de jeu, en particulier parmi les personnes âgées. Dans le cadre d’un plus grand sondage sur le jeu, 886 répondants masculins et féminins (≥ 55 ans) ont rempli des questionnaires sur jouant de jeux non-numériques. Les objectifs de l’étude étaient de déterminer les avantages perçus de jouer à jeux non-numériques, ainsi que de déterminer les facteurs socio-démographiques prédictifs des bénéfices perçus. Les résultats de l’enquête indiquent que jouant des jeux non-numériques est courant chez les personnes âgées (73% des répondants). Pour la plupart, les jeux sont de nature sociale: les adultes plus âgés jouent pour s’amuser, mais aussi pour aider à maintenir leur connaissance. Les analyses de régression ont indiqué que divers facteurs socio-démographiques, y compris l’âge, l’éducation, le genre et la race, étaient indépendamment associés aux avantages perçus des jeux. Les résultats soulignent donc l’importance de jouer à jeux non-numériques dans cette population, et suggèrent que les efforts visant à faciliter ces jeux peuvent améliorer les interactions sociales et la qualité de vie.

Corresponding author
La correspondance et les demandes de tire-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: W. Ben Mortenson, Ph.D. University of British Columbia Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy T-325-2211 Wesbrook Mall Vancouver, BC, V6T 2B5 <>
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Personal financial support was provided for the first author (WBM) by a Banting post-doctoral fellowship, and by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award. This project was funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Research Study 2012s0689) obtained by the third author (DK).

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
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