Task demand and mood repair: The intervention potential of computer games

Nicholas D. Bowman, Ron Tamborini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


It is argued that computer game play has great potential to intervene in noxious mood states because it is a more demanding task than consuming other forms of media. From mood management theory, this increased intervention potential should make computer games particularly adept mood repair agents. To test this assertion, a study was conducted that varied levels of task demand (our operationalization of intervention potential) in a computer game to examine mood repair for bored and stressed individuals. Results show that increasing the amount of control an individual has over a mediated environment significantly increases that medium's intervention potential. This increase in intervention potential results in an enhanced ability to relieve boredom and stress, but too much task demand is detrimental to mood repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1357
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • boredom
  • control
  • interactivity
  • mood management
  • stress
  • task demand
  • video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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