The amount of conflict stirred up, rather than just the amount of time spent playing, made the impact on marital satisfaction, he noted.
In recruiting people for the study, Lundberg said he went to gaming sites and social media sites. He received negative reaction, he said, from extreme gaming sites. He said they may have been loathe to take a few minutes away from their gaming to answer the researchers' questions.
The finding about gaming ''widows" doesn't surprise Eve Kilmer, a Denver psychologist who specializes in couples counseling.
A partner who reaches out to communicate but is often ignored because the spouse is engrossed in gaming is eventually going to become dissatisfied, she said.
"In someone prone to addiction, there may be underlying intimacy issues anyway," she added.
For a spouse who feels like a gaming "widow" or "widower," Kilmer suggests addressing the issue in a positive way.
"If you are going to bring it up with your spouse, you don't want to be critical," she said. Instead of telling a partner what you wish he wouldn't do, tell him how you feel when he does it, she suggested.
Telling your partner, for instance, that too much gaming makes you feel unimportant and unloved ''is more likely to evoke understanding and empathy," Kilmer said.
Here's more about video gaming addiction.
SOURCES: Neil Lundberg, Ph.D., assistant professor, recreation management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Eve Kilmer, Ph.D., Denver psychologist; Feb. 15, 2012, Journal of Leisure Research
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