Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



While small and large technological miracles have undoubtedly made our lives easier, they have potentially also made a significant part of our daily social routine obsolete. People live in the same space but rarely spend quality time together, interacting and bonding. One of the solutions to diminishing family relationships may lie in the technology itself—video games. Previous research having shown the sociability of video games, and in this study, we examined their potential in creating closer family relationships, especially among different generations. Participants (n = 183), mainly grandparents and grandchildren, were asked to play video games together over a period of six weeks. Participants completed a modified version of the self-other overlap, self-disclosure, and relationship closeness inventories before and after the treatment and responded to a series of open-ended questions post-treatment. Results indicate a significant increase in the inclusion of other in the self, as well as an increase in breadth and depth of self-disclosure for both younger and older adults. A comparison group (n = 88), comprising also mostly grandparents and grandchildren, was tasked with having conversations either face-to-face or in a mediated setting. The comparison group completed the same questionnaires, with results indicating a significantly smaller increase in the inclusion of other in the self and depth of self-disclosure, while breadth of self-disclosure experienced the same increase as in the gaming group. The findings suggest that video games can provide a platform for family communication, resulting in the rejuvenation and maintenance of intergenerational relationships. Gathering around a novel shared activity, both younger and older adults found new ways of connecting to their family members, whether through more frequent conversations, broader selection of topics, shared subjects, or pure entertainment.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Pecchioni, Loretta L.

Included in

Communication Commons