Gaming in the Game of Love: Effects of Video Games on Conflict in Couples


aggression, computer games, conflict, romantic relationships, video games


The current study assessed how playing video games can influence conflict and aggression in relationships. A sample of 1,333 heterosexual couples reported their video game playing habits, conflict regarding the media, and physical and relational aggression (both self and partner directed). Results showed that for men (but not women), time spent playing video games was associated with increased conflict over the amount of time spent using media, as well as the content of those media. Conflict over the media, in turn, was associated with increased physical and relational aggression in the relationship. Thus, conflict over the media offers one explanation for why video game play may increase aggression in romantic relationships.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S.M., Busby, D., Bushman, B.J., Gentile, D. A., Ridge, R., & *Stockdale, L. (2012). Gaming in the game of love: Effects of video games on conflict in couples. Family Relations, 61, 388-396.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Science




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor