person holding playstation controller

The impact of video games on young people in Quebec is a multifaced and complex area for research. Some 71% of young adults in Québec (18-24 years old) own a video game console, while 41% of people in Québec play games regularly, 10% more than other Canadians. Recognizing the popularity of video games and other screen-based activities, the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec aimed to foster healthier use of digital media among young people as part of its 2022-2025 strategic plan. This led the ministry to create the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) Action concertée program on screen time and youth well-being, which funds the current project.


This project will investigate the effects of video game use (active play) and exposure (passive screen watching) in young adults, ages 18-25. This is done by assessing the real-time positive and negative effects of video gaming using digital “phenotyping”, a process of making inferences about human behavior from digital data generated through human interaction using electronic devices (e.g., smartphones). The Game-in-action project will also develop and test an intervention called “game jams” to promoting agency, interactivity, and creativity in young players, while preventing harmful effects and establish a multisectoral, multistakeholder collaboration to promote young people’s health and psychosocial wellbeing in interacting with video games. We will do this by co-designing new strategies and interventions with gamers based on harm reduction principles, identifying environmental risk and protective factors (physical, socio-cultural) associated with video game play, and identifying strategies to ensure equal access by more vulnerable youth to effective video game interventions.


In collaborating with the LIVE Lab at McMaster university, we will examine physiological effects of watching video game live streaming events (sports/e-sports, action- adventure, survival-horror, and puzzles), measuring EEG, heart and breathing rates, and skin conductance. An intensive longitudinal survey will track day-to-day fluctuations in gamers’ active and passive gameplay behaviors and well-being (sleep, mood, cognition, physical and mental states, connectiveness). During the Game Jams event, we will provide young people with an opportunity to create games, where they will learn technical, cognitive, and social skills, building capacity to take control of their gaming experiences.


Research Team:

Lead Investigator: Dr. Manuela Ferrari

Co-Investigators: Dr. Amal Abdel- Baki, Dr. Srividya Iyer, Dr. Jai Shah, Dr. Claudia Mitchell, Dr. Jacinthe Dion, Dr. Martin Goyette, Dr. Guillaume Dumas, Dr. Martin Lepage, Dr. Vincent Paquin, Dr. Sahar Fazeli, Dr. Ina Winkelmann, Dr. Judith Sabetti, Dr. Seyed Mohammed Hani Sadati, Dr. Katie Lavigne

Collaborators: Dr. Laurel Trainer, Dr. Sally Strafford, Dr. Don Bosnyak, Cassandra Lacombe, Ludovic Lefebvre, Ludger Saintélien, Sébastien Caisse


In partnership with McMaster University.



Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC)



Back to top