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Social Interactions in Online Gaming



This paper briefly overviews five studies examining massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). The first study surveyed 540 gamers and showed that the social aspects of the game were the most important factor for many gamers. The second study explored the social interactions of 912 MMORPG players and showed they created strong friendships and emotional relationships. A third study examined the effect of online socializing in the lives of 119 online gamers. Significantly more male gamers than female gamers said that they found it easier to converse online than offline, and 57% of gamers had engaged in gender swapping. A fourth study surveyed 7,069 gamers and found that 12% of gamers fulfilled at least three diagnostic criteria of addiction. Finally, an interview study of 71 gamers explored attitudes, experiences, and feelings about online gaming. They provided detailed descriptions of personal problems that had arisen due to playing MMORPGs.
20 International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011
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Keywords: Gaming,GamingAddiction,GenderSwapping,MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlaying
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing
Games (MMORPGs) are fully developed multi-
player universes with an advanced and detailed
visual and auditory world in which players create
Social Interactions in
Online Gaming
This paper briey overviews ve studies examining massively multiplayer online role-playing games
diagnosticcriteriaof addiction.Finally,aninterviewstudyof 71gamersexploredattitudes,experiences,
an individualistic character (Griffiths, Davies,
& Chappell, 2004). This is the only setting
where millions of users voluntarily immerse
themselves in a graphical virtual environment
and interact with each other through avatars on
a daily basis (Yee, 2007). Research suggests
that the game play within these virtual worlds is
enhanced because players use them as traditional
games as well as arenas in which to explore
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2011100103
International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011 21
Copyright © 2011, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
new relationships, new places and themselves
(Krotoski, 2004). Despite the massive amounts
of money spent on online gaming, very little
research has been carried out regarding the
positive social aspects of these games.
Much of the debate over the last 30 years has
focused on the dangers of computer gaming in
the adolescent population, including increased
aggression and addiction. Research has also
been carried out examining the potentially
harmful effects playing computer games may
have on social development, self-esteem, social
inadequacy, and social anxiety. MMORPGs are
very (virtually) socially interactive but little
social interaction in the real world is needed
when playing them as only one person can play
them at any one time from a single computer,
unlike some popular two-player console games
such as MortalKombat.
Yee (2001, 2006, 2007) has carried out
research into MMORPGs and notes that they
allow new forms of social identity and social
interaction. Yee’s research has shown that
MMORPGs appeal to adults and teenagers from
a wide range of backgrounds, and they spend
on average more than half a working week in
these environments. In a study by Utz (2000),
it was found that 77% of respondents reported
that they had some sort of relation with other
Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) Gamers. It has also
been suggested that college students can develop
compulsions to play MMORPGs leading to
social isolation, poor academic performance,
and sleep deprivation. In 2004, a survey of
over 54,000 American students found 11% of
females and 20% of males said their recreational
computer use had significantly hindered their
performance at college and University (Ameri-
can College Health Association, 2005). Players
can become fixated on their virtual characters,
striving to obtain the best armour, experience
and reputation in the game, ignoring the fact
that their grades are dropping and their friends
have drifted apart.
It is clear to see that computer games ap-
pear to play a role in the socialisation of heavy
game players particularly for those who play
MMORPGs. Krotoski (2004) maintains that
MMORPGs encourage group interaction and
involvement, flexibility and mastery, resulting
in significant friendships and personal empow-
erment. It is important to realise that gaming
has shown elements of being a compulsive
behaviour, with players feeling addicted, ex-
periencing a strong impulse to play the games
and finding it hard to resist the games (Griffiths
& Davies, 2005).
Positive social interaction is paramount in
MMORPGs because they require a large number
of players to cooperate together and work as a
team at the same time. MMORPGs also have
multiple tasks that require different characters
with different skills in order to complete a
challenge or quest. This teaches gamers to be
dependent on one another that reinforce their
relationships, providing a good understanding
of teamwork. The purpose of the research here
is to examine the social interactions that occur
both within and outside of MMORPGs. The
development of virtual friendships can be very
enjoyable for gamers, and anecdotal evidence
has suggested they sometimes develop into
serious real-life friendships and relationships.
Not only do MMORPGs facilitate formation of
relationships, they are also windows into and
catalysts in existing relationships.
To date, there has been relatively little
research into massively multiplayer online role-
playing games (MMORPGs). This paper briefly
overviews five studies by the authors (Griffiths,
Davies & Chappell, 2004; Cole & Griffiths,
2007; Hussain & Griffiths, 200, 2009; Grüsser,
Thalemann, & Griffiths, 2007). In all studies
outlined below, participants were informed that
participation was entirely voluntary and that
the research was conducted according to the
British Psychological Society’s Ethical Code
of Conduct for Psychologists. In the case of
the surveys, if participants no longer wished to
take part they simply had to close the Internet
browser. All players were guaranteed anonymity
and confidentiality.
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540 online gamers who played Everquest took
part in the survey. Since one of the study’s main
aims was to explore demographic factors, fur-
ther details about participants (e.g., age, gender
etc.) are given in the results section.
Design and Materials
An online questionnaire survey (using an ‘in-
house’ designed tool called Autoform) was
used to examine basic demographic factors of
online computer game players (i.e., gender, age,
marital status, nationality, education level, oc-
cupation, etc.). It also asked questions relating
to playing frequency (i.e., amount of time spent
playing the game a week), playing history (i.e.,
how long they had been playing the game, who
they played the game with, whether they had
ever gender swapped their game character), the
favourite and least favourite aspects of playing
the game, and what they sacrifice (if anything)
to play the game.
An online questionnaire was publicised and
placed at three online fan sites of one of the
most popular online computer games (Ever-
quest). To target Everquest players, the sites
chosen were, www. and
It is here that the authors established contact with
the players. Once players visited the hyperlink
address to the questionnaire, they simply clicked
their selections and pressed the submit button
at the end of the page.
Gender, Age, Nationality
and Marital Staus
Of the 540 players who filled out the question-
naire, 431 were male (81%), 99 were female
(19%). Ten participants did not specify their
gender. Two-thirds of players (67%) were under
31 years of age (8% of the sample were aged
12 to 17 years, with 59% of the sample aged
between 18 and 30 years). The remainder were
aged between 31 and 40 years (22%), 41 and
50 years (8%), and over 50 years (3%). The
mean age of the sample was 27.9 years of age
(SD = 8.7 years). Over three-quarters of the
players (77%) were from North America (USA
and Canada). European players accounted for
one-fifth of the sample (20%) with almost two-
thirds of these coming from the UK (12% of
total players). Over half of players were single
(55.5%), with a further 1.5% being separated
and 3% divorced. Just under a third of players
were married (30%) with another 10% living
with their partner.
Education and Occupation
Most players were current university students
studying for an undergraduate qualification or
already had one (29%). A significant minority
had postgraduate qualifications (13%). Of those
without any kind of higher education, 23.5% had
college schooling up to 19 years of age, and 20%
had schooling up to 16 years of age. A further
14% claimed they received no education after
11 years of age with the remaining few claim-
ing they had no formal education whatsoever
(0.5%). Just over a quarter of all players had jobs
in the information technology/computing sector
(28.7%), and one fifth of players were students
(20%). These were by far the two most preva-
lent occupational categories. The remainder
consisted of professionals (e.g., lawyer, doctor
etc.) (7.4%), armed/emergency forces (6.9%),
education (3.3%), finance (2.4%), health (e.g.,
nurses) (1.3%), homemaker (1.3%), manual
work (e.g., gardener, labourer) (0.7%), office
work (e.g., secretarial) (4.3%), self-employed
(3.5%), service industries (e.g., retail, restau-
rants etc.), (3.9%), and tradesmen (e.g., plumber,
electrician etc.) (2.8%). There were also those
who listed other jobs not on the list (6.5%) and
those who were unemployed (6.9%).
International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011 23
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Playing History
The mean time they had been playing was 27.2
months (SD = 12.14 months). More specifically,
players reported having played for 6 months or
less (8.1%), 7 to 12 months (9.4%), 13 to 18
months (7.9%), 19 to 24 months (17%), 25 to
30 months (15%), and 31 to 36 months (24%).
A further 18.6% claimed to have been playing
over 3 years. Players were also asked if they
played Everquest with friends. Over three-
quarters (75.6%) claimed that they did. Another
question asked if they played with their partner
and over one quarter (25.2%) claimed they did.
Players were asked if they had ever played a dif-
ferent gendered character. Results indicated that
60% of players had at some time gender swapped
while gaming online. The mean playing time
per week was 25 hours (SD = 14 hours). More
specifically, players reported a wide range of
hours played per week. These were up to five
hours (3.2%), 6 to 10 hours (12.9%), 11 to 15
hours (11.7%), 16 to 20 hours (24.5%), 21 to
25 hours (9.5%), 26 to 30 hours (14.6%), 30
to 40 hours (14.5%), 40 to 50 hours (5.4%),
and over 50 hours (4%). It was also noted that
four individuals in this latter category claimed
to play for over 70 hours a week.
Favourite and Least Favourite
Features of Online Gaming
Players were asked what their single most fa-
vourite feature of playing Everquest was. By far
the most popular reason was that Everquest is a
social game (24.6%). Other popular favourite
reasons included being able to group together
with others (10.2%), being part of a Guild
membership (10%), and the fact that there was
no end to the game (10%). Almost one-fifth of
players (18.7%) claimed that their least favourite
part was the immaturity of other players. This
was closely followed by selfishness of other
players (15.4%).
Sacrificing Other Activities to Play
Players were asked what part of their life they
sacrificed most in order to play Everquest. Over
one-fifth of the players (22.8%) said that nothing
in their life was sacrificed in order to play the
game. Just over one quarter (25.6%) said they
sacrificed another hobby or pastime. In order to
play the game other players said they sacrificed
sleep (18.1%), work and/or education (9.6%),
socialising with friends (10.4%), socialising
with partner (5.4%), and family time (4.6%).
This was the first academic study of online
computer game playing that had collected
primary data. The findings reported here cor-
respond with the study of secondary data previ-
ously collected by the authors (i.e., Griffiths,
Davies, & Chappell, 2003) that games are
predominantly played by males. In Everquest,
the male population in this study accounts for
81% of the sample. This is similar to the 85%
reported by Griffiths et al. (2003). However,
there appears to be increasingly more female
gamers, with almost 20% of the players being
female. It has been pointed out (Griffiths et
al., 2003) that computer games are no longer
aimed at the adolescent audience. This study
confirms such assertions as the average age of
players was nearly 28 years old. Almost two-
thirds (59%) of players were aged between 18
and 30 years. There were approximately equal
numbers of young adolescent players and those
aged between 41 and 50 years. These findings
are similar to those of Griffiths et al. (2003),
although there appears to be a slightly greater
age spread. More specifically, the current study
appears to have a greater percentage of both
younger and older players.
This study showed that ‘single’ people
(55.7%) tend to predominate the computer gam-
ing world. It could perhaps be speculated that
having a partner or other commitments reduces
the amount of time that an Everquest player can
do other activities. Everquest is a game that
requires a lot of dedication. Players must there-
fore “make time” to play this game. However,
it was found that almost 30% of players were
married. It could be that a people’s partners
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will get involved with computer games so that
they have a common interest. For instance, in
this study just over a quarter of the participants
played with their partners (i.e., 63% of all play-
ers with partners).
Everquest is not like normal “stand alone”
games (Griffiths et al., 2003) and take a take a
lot of dedication and time. The mean playing
time per week (25 hours) suggests that a lot
of time is invested by a majority of players.
Furthermore, there were a large minority of
players (9.3%) that claimed they played for
more than 40 hours per week (with a few claim-
ing to play over 80 hours a week). The results
also showed that almost two-thirds of players
(60%) had gender swapped at some point in
their Everquest playing.
The biggest appeal for those that play on-
line computer games is that they are social. It
is therefore not surprising that almost a quarter
of the sample (24.6%) said that social contact
with other players is their favourite feature of
the game. When combined with ‘grouping’,
over a third of the players favourite reasons for
playing (35%) were for social reasons. This is
a bigger figure than in the previous study by
Griffiths et al. (2003) who reported only 23%.
Both studies’ findings directly contradict pre-
vious speculations that computer games are a
socially isolating. Three-quarters of the sample
claimed they play with real life friends. This
is a positive factor indicating that those who
engage in role playing games may no longer
be associated with the introverted
It was clear that many players seriously
impinge on some aspect of their life in order to
play Everquest at the level they do. Just over a
quarter (25.6%) say that they sacrifice another
hobby or pastime. This appears unproblematic
as it is up to them what they spend their leisure
time on. However, almost one-fifth of players
sacrificed sleep in order to play the game. This
is a potentially large number of players having
their routines and daily life interrupted due to
the lack of sleep the night before. Other activi-
ties that are sacrificed may also be problematic
including the displacement of work and/or
education, and sacrificing time with partner
and/or family.
The sample consisted of 912 self-selected
MMORPG players from a total of 45 countries.
All participants completed an online question-
naire in their own time. Of these participants,
70% were male (n = 641), 29% were female (n
= 261) and 1% did not give their gender (n =
10). The sample was aged between 11 and 63
years, with the mean age of 23.6 years (S.D. =
7.55 years). Of the participants who gave their
country of residence, 46% (n = 420) were from
the USA, 26% (n = 240) were from the UK,
and 5% (n = 46) were from Canada.
Design and Materials
An online questionnaire survey was designed
using a university generated online data collec-
tion programme (Autoform) and was divided
into five sections. The first section asked for
information about gender, age, country of
residence, and which game was played, and
how often. The second section asked questions
about friendships within the game, attraction
to other players, and meeting online friends in
real life. The third section covered a number
of topics that players might discuss with their
online friends and examined the trust between
online friends.
The questionnaire was posted on over 20 dedi-
cated MMORPG gaming forums and was also e-
mailed to a range of students at a UK university.
From this e-mail, participants then followed a
hyperlink to the questionnaire. Questionnaires
with more than 50% of responses missing were
also omitted.
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Friendships within MMORPGs
Approximately three-quarters of both males
(76.2%) and females (74.7%) said they had made
good friends within the game. The mean number
of “good friends” made within a MMORPG
for participants was seven. Males were found
to have significantly more “good friends” than
females (7.7 versus 3.1; t = 3.06, p = 0.002).
Results showed that females (55.4%) were
significantly more likely than males (37.6%)
to have met up with online friends in real life
(X2 = 23.1, p < 0.001). Males were significantly
more likely than females to meet up with online
friends at a LAN meeting (X2 = 13.5, p < 0.001)
but there were no other gender differences.
Attraction to Other Players
Almost one-third of the sample (31.3%) had
been attracted to another player. Females
(43.2%) were significantly more likely than
males (26.2%) to be attracted to other players
(X2 = 21.3, p < 0.001). When asked if the feeling
was mutual, almost half (49.8%) of those who
had been attracted to another player answered
‘yes’ (47.1% males versus 53.5% females).
Females (15.3%) were also significantly more
likely than males (7.7%) to date other players
(X2 = 9.747, p = 0.002).
Playing MMORPGs with Real
Life Friends and Family
Over one-quarter of the sample (26.3%) played
MMORPGs with family and real life friends.
Female gamers (33.2%) were significantly more
likely than male gamers (23.6%) to play with
both family members and real life friends (X2 =
22.49, p < 0.001). The mean number of real life
friends the participants chosen game was played
with was 4.4. There was no significant difference
between males (4.5 friends) and females (4.2
friends) in relation to mean number of real life
friends they played with (t = 0.833, p = 0.41).
Furthermore, there were no significant differ-
ences between males (1.4 family members) and
females (1.7 family members) in relation to the
number of family members they played with (t
= -1.447, p = 0.15).
The Effect of MMORPGs
on Relationships
A very small number of gamers (2.6%, n = 19)
believed that MMORPGs had a negative effect
on relationships with those who they play the
game with. Around one-fifth of gamers (20.3%)
believed that MMORPGs had a negative effect
on their relationships with people who they do
not play the same MMORPG with. Two-thirds
of gamers (67.4%) believed that MMORPGs
have a positive effect on their relationships with
those who they play the game with. There were
no gender differences.
Online Versus Offline Friendships
Just under half of all gamers (45.6%) believed
their online friends to be comparable to their
real life friends with 16.8% saying they were
not sure. There were no significant gender dif-
ferences when gamers compared online friends
with real life friends. A small minority of gamers
(4.8%) believed their online friends were more
trustworthy than their real life friends, with the
majority (53.3%) believing their real life friends
to be more trustworthy. The remainder reported
online and offline friends to be equally trust-
worthy (36.7%) or were unsure (5.3%). There
were no gender differences in trustworthiness.
Friendship and Play Frequency
A significant positive correlation was found
between number of hours played per week and
the number of friends within the game (r = 0.177,
p < 0.001). There were no gender differences.
A significant negative correlation was found
between the effect playing the game has had
on relationships with those who do not play
the same game and number of hours played per
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week (r = - 0.221, p < 0.001). The relationship
was slightly stronger for males (r = -0.232, p
< 0.001) than females (r = 0.178, p = 0.005). A
weak negative but significant correlation was
found between age and number of hours played
per week (r = - 0.088, p = 0.008). Finally, there
were no significant correlation found between
self-reported extraversion and hours played per
week (r = -0.064, p > 0.05).
Previous research has made assumptions that
gamers are socially inactive. However, the
study showed that 76.2% of males and 74.7%
of females had made good friends within the
game. This suggests that MMORPGs are
highly socially interactive. Furthermore, the
mean number of good friends made within
a MMORPG was seven, with males making
significantly more online friends than females.
Four-fifths of participants (80.8%) reported that
they enjoyed playing the same game with real
life friends and family.
Two-fifths of participants (39.3%) said they
would discuss sensitive issues with their online
gaming friends that they would not discuss with
their real life friends. Females were more likely
to do so, suggesting that online relationships
provide an outlet to discuss serious matters in
a safe manner which may be difficult to talk
about with real life family and friends. One of the
advantages of online friendships is anonymity,
and whilst online, some people self-disclose or
act out more frequently or intensely than they
would in person. The appeal of discussing issues,
such as sexuality, lies in the ease and anonymity
with which online seekers can obtain advice and
reassurance, particularly regarding sensitive
topic. Due to the age range of players, it is very
easy to obtain advice from people who have
more life experience. However, Suler (2004)
notes that ‘dissociative anonymity’ (“you don’t
know me”) and ‘invisibility’ (“you can’t see
me”) will cause people to self-disclose more,
which could explain why such a high propor-
tion of players discuss sensitive issues online
but not in real life.
The study showed that 42.8% of partici-
pants had met up with online friends in real life
situations, again suggesting that online gaming
is a social activity or facilitates social activity.
Females were significantly more likely to meet
online friends in real life compared to males.
Meeting other players did not just occur in the
player’s local neighbourhoods. An interesting
finding with regards to gender differences is
the fact that male players make more friends
online, but females are more likely to meet
up with online friends. Females are also more
likely to talk about sensitive issues with online
friends, be attracted to other players, and more
likely to date others players in real life. These
gender differences could suggest that whilst men
do form friendships with a number of players,
women actually form more emotionally strong
friendships, with the ability to discuss sensitive
issues, to meet up with friends and to physically
date other players.
Another interesting finding was that 31.3%
of participants had found themselves attracted
to another player (26.2% males compared to
42.3% females). The presence of mutual at-
traction was just under 50%. This suggests
that MMORPGs offer a safe environment for
players to become emotionally involved with
others. Overall 10.1% of players had developed
a physical relationship with another player.
This again indicates that online gaming can be
a highly sociable activity. Significant positive
effects on relationships were found, especially
with those gamers who played with close friends
and partners. Two-thirds of participants (67.4%)
believed that MMORPGs had a positive effect
on their relationships with those who they play
the game with.
One hundred and fifty seven participants com-
pleted an online questionnaire. Thirty-eight
participants were eliminated for being under
International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011 27
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the age of 18 years, resulting in a sample of
119 participants. There were 83 males (69%)
and 32 females (26%), with four participants
not specifying their gender. The participants
ranged in age from 18 to 69 years (mean age
= 28.5 years; SD = 9.6 years). The majority
of participants were from the United States
(73%), followed by those from the UK (8%)
and Canada (3%). Participants were recruited
from online gaming forums that were specifi-
cally for online gamers.
Design and Materials
An online questionnaire survey was used in
the present study for the collection of both
quantitative and qualitative data. A specially
designed piece of online questionnaire software
(Autoform) was used for the collection of online
data. The online questionnaire asked questions
on basic demographics of online gamers (i.e.,
country of residence, gender, etc.). It also asked
questions relating to typical online videogame
playing behaviour (i.e., the amount of time
spent playing online per week), and reasons
for playing (i.e., for entertainment, for stress
relief, etc). There were also specific questions
on particular aspects of playing history (i.e.,
whether they had ever gender swapped their
game character) and Likert-scale questions
relating to the effects of online gaming (i.e.,
whether they played online in order to avoid
feeling anxious).
Following a small pilot study, an online ques-
tionnaire was publicised and placed on various
gaming forums hosted on well-known gaming
sites. These sites were http://www.Allakhazam.
com,, http://www., and http://www.white- Postings inviting gamers to take
part in the study were placed in the off-topic
forums. All participants were informed about
the purpose of the study (i.e., to examine various
psychosocial effects of online gaming). Once
gamers visited the hyperlink address to the
questionnaire, they were given clear instructions
on how to fill in the questionnaire.
Typical Playing Behavior
Participants were asked about the amount of
times per week they played online video games.
A large minority of gamers (41%) played 4 to
6 times a week and almost two in five gamers
(39%) played 7 to 10 times a week. A tiny
minority of gamers (2%) played more than
ten times a week. On average males played
online nearly seven times a week compared to
the females nearly five times a week. Gamers
were also asked about the average length of
each game playing session. The results revealed
that a large minority of gamers (47%) spent
210 minutes or more per playing session. One
fifth of gamers (20%) played between 150 and
209 minutes per session. The mean playing
time per week by gamers was 17.46 hours.
There was a significant correlation between
the number of times gamers played per week
and the length of time per session (r = 0.39, p <
.05). Female gamers played longer per session
(M = 198 minutes), than male participants (M
= 186 minutes), although the finding was not
significant (t[112] = -0.509, p > 0.05: Effect
size, r = 0.40).
The Effect of Online Gaming
on the Lives of Gamers
Over two-thirds of gamers (68%) said that on-
line gaming had a “stimulating” effect, where
a stimulating effect was when online gaming
had either a social, challenging and/or interac-
tive effect on gamers. Players were also asked
a question asking if online gaming satisfied
their social needs that were not satisfied in the
real world, and if ‘yes’ to say why that was the
case. Almost two-thirds of gamers (63%) said
online gaming did not satisfy their social needs,
although very few participants gave reasons as
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to why this was the case. However, 28% said
online gaming satisfied their social needs that
were not satisfied in the real world. In relation
to the absorbing effects of online gaming, half
of the gamers (50%) said that they felt as though
they were absorbed into a different virtual en-
vironment when they played online.
Socialising in Online Gaming
Just over one in five gamers (21%) said they
preferred socialising online compared to of-
fline. More two-thirds of gamers (67%) said
they preferred socialising offline compared
to online although very few participants gave
explicit reasons as to why. Significantly more
male gamers (60%) than female gamers (19%)
stated that they would rather spend time with
friends in an offline environment rather than
online (X2[4] = 11.57, p < 0.001; Oddsratio
= 1.1). In relation to online communication,
significantly more male gamers (40%) than
female gamers (6%) stated that they found it
easier to converse online rather than offline
(X2[4] = 17.65, p < 0.001; Oddsratio = 0.36).
The majority of gamers (59%) said they did
not play online to escape from other things.
One third of gamers (34%) agreed or strongly
agreed they used gaming as a way of changing
their mood compared to 44% who disagreed or
strongly disagreed.
Gender Swapping
Results revealed that the majority of gamers
(57%) had gender-swapped their game charac-
ter. This included over half of all males (54%)
and more than two-thirds of females (68%).
This finding was significant (X2 [4] = 18.16, p
< 0.001; Oddsratio = 2.1).
The present study examined some of the psy-
chosocial consequences and effects of online
gaming, particularly in relation to socialising
and gender swapping. Results showed that
two-thirds of gamers did not find the socialis-
ing aspects of online virtual worlds to be more
pleasant and satisfying than offline socialisation.
However, those gamers who thought otherwise
provided good reasons as to why they thought
the virtual worlds were more pleasant and sat-
isfying. For example, the socialising aspect of
the online virtual worlds was seen as a laid back
means of communication and saw them as places
where “everyone could speak their mind” and
where “everyone will still be heard.” This sug-
gests that the virtual world is a place of equality,
and together with the breakdown of visual social
cues, may explain why one in five gamers found
them more pleasant and satisfying than offline
socialisation. These findings are consistent with
the arguments of Morahan-Martin (1999) who
asserts the ability to change identity online is a
liberating experience because it can change the
way people are perceived by trying out different
ways of presenting yourself and interacting with
others. These findings are also consistent with
the findings of Study 1 showing that the social
and co-operative elements of MMORPGs are
the main reasons why people like them.
The study also found that two-fifths of
gamers said that they played online to escape
other things. Furthermore, a third of gamers
(34%) stated that they used online gaming to
change their mood. These characteristics may
be indicative of a tendency for some gamers
to use online gaming as a mood modifier.
The gamers may also undertake online gam-
ing as a means of coping with problems in
their everyday lives. These findings support
Jacobs’ (1986) GeneralTheoryofAddiction
that suggests people who play excessively are
either over-or under-aroused and use online
gaming, or other reinforcing behaviours, as
a means of escape and to relieve depressive
states. Research by Wood and Griffiths (2007)
found that escape was the prime characteristic
of the gambling experience that facilitated the
continuation of problem gambling. This feel-
ing of escape may be used as a maladaptive
coping strategy (Wood, Gupta, Derevensky, &
Griffiths, 2004). It can be speculated that online
gaming may be used as an alternative method
of coping in that some gamers will use it to
International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011 29
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distract themselves from having to deal with
daily problems. Further research is needed in
order to support this assertion.
In assessing some of the psychosocial
effects of online gaming, the study found that
two-thirds of gamers said online gaming had
a stimulating effect. The gamers provided a
variety of reasons for this, such as the chal-
lenging and exciting aspects of role-playing
online, the level of interactivity with other
players, and the opportunity to meet new
friends online. Just over a quarter of gamers
stated that online gaming satisfied their social
needs that were not satisfied in the real world.
They provided some interesting reasons. For
example, one participant said that she relied
on online gaming as an entertaining way to
socialise with long distance relatives and
friends. For others, online gaming provided
a medium to interact with people on an intel-
lectual level without having to prove his ability
before speaking. Contrary to the findings of
Lo, Wang, and Fang (2005), the gamers in the
present study showed no signs of having expe-
rienced any sort of deterioration in real world
interpersonal relationships. Rather they were
more functional individuals who maintained
contact with real world friends and relatives
in a more complex manner online.
The present study also attempted to explain
why gamers engage in ‘gender swapping’ and
whether this has an effect on video game stimu-
lation. Previous research has not considered
the reasons as to why people gender swap.
Overall, 57% of the sample said they had gender
swapped their character (similar to findings of
Study 1 that reported 60% gender swapping in
their sample). Significantly more females than
males had gender swapped their character. This
can be explained by the reasons provided by
participants who gender swapped in order to
prevent unsolicited male approaches on female
characters. Some gamers engaged in gender
swapping as an experiment. What makes these
findings important is that in most instances,
the gamer has the opportunity to choose the
gender of his or her character and to develop
other aspects of their character before they
begin to play. Choosing to gender swap may
have an effect on the gamer’s style of play and
interaction with other gamers and could even
have an effect on guild membership.
The study sample comprised 7069 gamers
(94% male; mean age: 21.11 years, SD=6.35).
Subjects answered two online questionnaires
concerning gaming behaviour and associated
variables as well as aggressive behaviour and
violent attitudes.
Two online questionnaires were developed
incorporating basic demographic questions
along with an ‘addiction’ scale modelled after
key symptoms of a dependence syndrome as
outlined in WHO’s ICD-10 (World Health
Organization, 2000).
Participants were recruited in cooperation
with an online gaming magazine. Participants
answered two online questionnaires concerning
gaming behaviour and associated variables as
well as aggressive behaviour and violent atti-
tudes. Participants who fulfilled at least three
of six dependence criteria with regard to their
gaming behavior were assigned to the group of
pathological gamers.
Data analyses revealed that 840 subjects (11.9%)
of the total sample fulfilled at least three criteria
of addiction concerning their gaming behaviour.
Pathological gamers (M= 4.70, SD= 4.03)
differed significantly from non-pathological
computer gamers (M= 2.49, SD= 2.22) regard-
ing daily hours of playing (F (1, 5609)= 475.28,
30 International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011
Copyright © 2011, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
p<.01) with a moderate effect size (f= .29). Com-
pared to non-pathological gamers (M= 1.64,
SD= 2.00) pathological gamers (M= 4.60, SD=
3.33) showed significantly higher (F (1, 6258)=
1242.02, p<.01) “expected relief of withdrawal
symptoms when gaming” with a strong effect
size (f= .45). In addition, pathological gamers
(M= 5.84, SD= 2.91) showed also significantly
higher (F (1, 6479)= 934.61, p<.01, f= .38)
“craving due to the expectation of a positive
outcome of gaming” than non-pathological
gamers (M= 3.10, SD= 2.31). Furthermore,
aggressive behaviour reported in pathological
gamers (25.7%) and non-pathological gamers
(10.7%) differed significantly (X2 (1, n=5218) =
109.23, p<.01) as well but just with a small ef-
fect size (w= .14). Regression analysis revealed
that the factor “excessive gaming” explained
only 1.8% variance of aggression.
In this study, nearly 12% of participants
complied with three or more modified criteria
for addiction and were therefore considered
to be pathological gamers. This rate seems
rather high, even if one takes into account
the specific sample (all participants were ac-
tive gamers). Nevertheless, findings of other
studies report even higher rates – at least in
adolescence (Griffiths & Hunt, 1995; 1998;
Griffiths, 1997). A significant group difference
but moderate effect size regarding the time
spent daily with gaming has been found. More
important, findings point to the fact that gaming
has an addictive potential that is also mirrored
by addiction-related cognitive components
like significantly stronger positive outcome
expectancies (Marlatt & Witkiewitz, 2005).
Given that such cognitions are dysfunctional
in the long term and maintain addictive be-
haviours, our findings suggest that cognitive
components may be considered in therapy of
excessive behaviours that meet core symptoms
of addiction. Furthermore, there is only weak
evidence for the assumption that aggressive
behaviour is interrelated with excessive gaming.
To identify subgroups, further studies should
include the kind of games favoured by exces-
sive gamers (Carnagey & Anderson, 2005). In
conclusion, the addictive potential of gaming
should be taken into consideration especially in
adolescents whose leisure activities comprise
gaming to a large extent. Cognitive-behavioural
interventions which focus on developing self-
observation skills with regard to the function
of gaming (e.g., “playing the hurt away”) and
outcome expectancies seem to be appropriate
in treating excessive gamers.
A total of 71 online gamers (52 males and 19 fe-
males) participated in the study. The participants
ranged in age from 18 to 54 years (mean = 26
years, SD = 8.4 years). Most of the participants
were from the USA (n = 32), followed by the
UK (n = 19), Canada (n = 5), and Netherlands
(n = 4), although seven other countries were also
represented among the remaining participants
(n = 11). The mean gaming time per week was
18.9 hours. The mean years of gaming experi-
ence was 4.7 years. Gamers were categorised
into three gamer types: (1) casual gamer (play
15 hours a week or less; n = 39); (2) regular
gamer (play more than 15 hours and up to 30
hours a week; n = 21); (3) excessive gamer (play
more than 30 hours a week; n = 12).
Design and Procedure
Participants were recruited in response to
recruitment posts on various online gaming
forums and in-game posts in the World of
Warcraft MMORPG. The sample was therefore
self-selecting. Participation was voluntary and
no incentive was offered for participation.
Semi–structured interviews were conducted
over a four-month period (October 2007 to
January 2008). The interviews were carried out
(synchronously) via MSNMessenger (an online
chat facility) or (asynchronously) via email and
analysed using thematic analysis. The researcher
International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011 31
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allowed gamers to speak for themselves (i.e.,
the emergent themes were participant led rather
than researcher-led). Each interview lasted ap-
proximately 75 minutes. Thematic analysis is a
flexible method for identifying, analysing and
reporting themes within qualitative data. This
method can offer a rich description of the data
set and is very useful for summarising large
bodies of data.
Six main themes emerged from the analyses of
the interview transcripts. These were: (1) online
gaming and integration into day-to-day lives,
(2) online gaming, excessive play and problems,
(3) addiction, (4) psychosocial impact of online
gaming, (5) online gaming, dissociation and
time loss, and (6) online gaming and the al-
leviation of negative feelings and mood states.
Online Gaming and Integration
into Day-to-Day Lives
The theme of online gaming and integration
into day-to-day lives revealed how gamers fitted
their online gaming into their lives. Many gam-
ers said that they played in their free time after
work, school, college or university (n=43; 33M,
10F). Others said they integrated their online
gaming by playing with friends (n=3, all male)
whilst some gamers said that they played during
work hours (n=5; 4M, 1F). A few gamers (n=3;
1M, 2F) played with their spouses or romantic
partners. This is contrary to many beliefs that
gamers lose control of their lives. The findings
showed how gamers did not have a problem
with their jobs and playing MMORPGs. There
was no real conflict between work and leisure
time as they worked and played in the same
location. Integrating online gaming into their
lives was very simple for them.
Online Gaming, Excessive
Play and Problems
A majority of the gamers interviewed stated that
their game playing is excessive (n=27; 20M,
7F) or was excessive (n=13; 11M, 2F). Only a
few gamers said that their game playing was
not excessive (n=4; 2M, 2F). The remainder
of gamers did not comment upon this issue.
There was a high degree of awareness of game
playing being excessive for those who said that
they played excessively. The findings showed
how the social aspects of MMORPGs can have
the negative impact of causing excessive game
playing. The virtual world was seen as a place
to waste time that led to excessive playing for
some gamers. Gamers talked about the raiding,
levelling up, and belonging to a guild. These
were factors that caused excessive playing.
Online gaming was seen as potentially addic-
tive by some gamers (n=14; 10M, 4F). The
results highlighted the potential addictiveness
of MMORPGs as viewed by the players them-
selves. The social interaction, competition, and
the in-game tasks were some of the triggers to
addiction according to these gamers.
Psychosocial Impact
of Online Gaming
The vast majority of gamers (n=50; 35M, 15F)
highlighted the positive effects of online gam-
ing and there were many different aspects that
were touched upon. However, a majority of
the gamers (n=45; 37M, 8F) also commented
upon the negative effects of MMORPGs. The
gamers had many positive experiences with
MMORPGs and there were many other ben-
eficial uses of MMORPGs. However, many of
the gamers also noted potential negative effects,
most notably the experience of losing friends
to MMORPGs – an issue that would appear to
require further research.
Online Gaming, Dissociation
and Time Loss
Gamers were asked whether they experienced
detachment from real-life or whether they lost
track of time and if they played longer than
intended. Just under a third of gamers expe-
32 International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011
Copyright © 2011, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
rienced detachment (n=22; 17M, 5F). Over a
third of gamers experienced time loss and said
they played longer than intended (n=25; 16M,
9F). The results showed the immersive proper-
ties of MMORPGs that caused detachment in
some gamers. This appeared to be an appealing
feature of MMORPGs. The results also showed
that gamers experienced time loss to such an
extent that some gamers set an alarm to alert
them of the time. The level of involvement that
is required when playing a MMORPG was seen
as a reason for time loss.
Online Gaming and the
Alleviation of Negative
Feelings and Mood States
Analysis demonstrated how gamers used online
gaming to alleviate negative feelings that in turn
brought positive feelings. Just under a third of
gamers (n=22; 13M, 9F) spoke about how they
removed negative feelings such as stress, anger,
and frustration by playing MMORPGs. The
results showed how gamers utilised MMORPGs
to relieve very strong negative feelings that can
be difficult to relieve in some cases. Gamers
used MMORPGs as a release and as a medium
to ‘step away’ away from everyday problems.
Results also showed that most gamers planned
their gaming around their daily education, work
and/or home tasks. The results show that gamers
tend to manage and integrate their MMORPG
playing into their lives but that a few play along
with friends and partners. These findings were
similar to those of Study 2 that found that 26%
of their sample played MMORPGs with family
and real-life friends. The findings also show
similarity to that of Whang and Chang (2005)
who explored the lifestyles of online gamers
and compared their real-world lifestyles with
their values and attitudes in the virtual world.
The study also found that more than half of
the gamers (n=40) thought their game playing is
or was excessive. Only four gamers specifically
said that their game playing was not excessive.
The gamers who said that their playing was not
excessive saw their online gaming as a hobby.
From the findings, online gaming appeared to
facilitate excessive play to a high extent. The
findings showed that gamers were aware of
their game playing behaviour and for many
their playing was excessive. Specific aspects of
MMORPGs were highlighted as causing exces-
sive play that could lead to adverse health effects
for some gamers (such as missing meals and not
exercising regularly). Future research should try
to assess the extent of excessive playing using
a quantitative measure. There were also some
insights into online gaming as an addiction.
A fifth of gamers (n=14) thought MMORPGs
were addictive. These findings support the
findings of Study 4 that found that 12% gamers
met at least three addiction criteria. However,
the present study does not claim that the gam-
ing behaviour of the participants is related to
dysfunctional social behaviour. Conversely, in
regards to the present findings, the qualitative
data on excessive playing and addiction needs
to be supported with quantitative data.
The study was distinctive in terms of col-
lecting data on the positive and negative effects
of online gaming. More than two-thirds of
gamers (n=51) commented upon the positive
effects of online gaming. Some of the positive
effects included meeting new people, learning
about new cultures, facilitating teamwork, and
building friendships. It was also seen as a good
tool for teaching cooperation, typing, reading
comprehension, economics and mathematics.
Interestingly, online gaming was also seen
as a medium that allowed people to exercise
their imagination and could teach teamwork
and planning skills. Such positive effects lend
support to the collaborative learning approaches
that focus on problem and experienced based
learning and to the literature showing online
games can be educationally useful (de Freitas
& Griffiths, 2008).
This study did not set out to find findings
that can be generalised. It was a qualitative
study and thus emphasised the gathering of
rich, elaborate, meaningful data. The semi–
structured interviews conducted via the use of
International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011 33
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MSNMessenger and email provided a more
in-depth analysis of gamers’ perceptions of
online gaming. This method can be seen to
have many advantages. For instance, Instant
Messaging (IM) interviews are cheap to admin-
ister, obtain geographically diverse samples,
and are less time-consuming compared to
face-to-face interviews.
These studies revealed a variety of attitudes
and experiences of gamers. It showed the
positive and negative effects of online games,
gender differences, and online and offline use
of gaming technologies by gamers. The ano-
nymity provided by the data collection methods
could also explain the willingness of gamers to
disclose highly personal and sensitive informa-
tion. The lack of non-verbal and paralinguistic
cues may have contributed to the high levels
of self-disclosure (particularly in Study 5).
Furthermore, past online research has shown
high levels of self-disclosure from participants
and reduced levels of social desirable responses
(Joinson, 1999).
It is also important to recognise the limita-
tions of these studies. Firstly, self-report mea-
sures raise questions about the truthfulness of
responses that must be taken into consideration.
Secondly, some of these studies had relatively
small samples when compared against previ-
ous online research that has obtained much
larger samples. Thirdly, all the participants in
all the studies were self-selected and may not
have been representative of the population of
online gamers. Finally, the data collected came
from specific forums. This raises the issue of
how representative these MMORPGs and their
players are. Thus, further research would need
to gather data from a larger number of forums
that cater for more MMORPGs.
One of the most important features of
MMORPGs is the social communication that
occurs between gamers. In the studies presented
here, many online gamers enjoyed the social-
ising aspects of online virtual worlds, but as
much as gamers enjoyed the time they spent
online, they enjoyed real-life social activities
more. Further research that focuses on both the
positive and negative effects of socializing in
online gaming is clearly required. Future re-
search could take a more qualitative approach to
data analysis by making use of such techniques
as Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
(IPA). Eatough et al. (2006) used IPA in their
study to examine how individuals perceived
Everquest in the context of their lives. They
managed to gather valuable data by making use
of IPA. This type of methodological approach
would be useful in examining online gaming
experiences such as excessive use or to examine
how players construct meaning in online virtual
worlds. IPA could also be used to understand
how gamers express themselves when they cre-
ate their own characters and identities.
Further research could also examine why
enhanced social interaction occurs in MMOR-
PGs. There are many possible explanations such
as greater anonymity online, the fact that the
importance of physical appearance is greatly
reduced, and/or that gamers have greater control
over the time and pace of their interaction (McK-
enna & Bargh, 2000). Further research could
also perhaps examine how gender swapping
may affect guild membership when members
of the guild discover that one of the members
is not who they say they are. Alternatively,
research could be carried out to see whether
gender swapping has an effect on the gamer’s
gender identity or gender role when they are
not playing online.
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MarkGriffithsisa CharteredPsychologistandEurope'sonlyProfessorofGamblingStudies
atNottingham TrentUniversity. He is Directorofthe International Gaming ResearchUnit
suchasCyberPsychology and Behavior,International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
andElectronic Commerce Research.
SabineGrusserwasa ProfessorandpsychologistattheCharité-UniversitätsmedizinBerlin.
HelenaColewas a student and did both her BachelorsandMastersDegreesat Nottingham
36 International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(4), 20-36, October-December 2011
17yearsat Nottingham TrentUniversity following academicpostsattheUniversityCollege
Darren Chappell was formerly a Research Assistant at the International Gaming Research
... For example, a player with rarer items will likely have had to gain them through being good at the game. Though there could be different motivations for purchasing virtual items it is evident that a major ingredient to a successful J. Cleghorn and M. Griffiths Digital Education Review -Number 27, June 2015- multiplayer game is the enabling of social interaction (Griffiths, Hussain, Grüsser, et al., 2013). ...
... Digital Education Review -Number 27, June 2015- game was more suited to some people socially than socialising in a real environment is (something that has also been reported in previous research [e.g., Cole & Griffiths, 2007;Griffiths et al., 2013). ...
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The present study investigated the phenomenon of buying 'virtual assets' for game avatars. Virtual Assets are items that are bought with real-world money for an avatar in-game. Weapons, items, pets, mounts and skin customisations are the most popular examples. Using a qualitative methodology – in this case Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) – six gamers that regularly bought in-game assets were interviewed. IPA was chosen because of its emphasis on lived experience, and each participant had subjective experiences of gaming and purchase behaviour. Of particular focus in this study were the superordinate themes of motivations for purchase behaviour, the resulting psychological impact on the gamer, the social benefits of gaming and virtual asset purchasing, emotional attachment, self-expression through the avatar, impulsivity versus thoughtfulness in purchase intention, and the impact of a transaction machinery on the 'game experience'. Motivations that were found to be of particular importance were item exclusivity, function, social appeal, and collectability. It was found that virtual items enable the gamer to express themselves, feel real satisfaction, and build lasting friendships. Essentially, virtual assets and gaming mostly had a very positive impact on the participant's psychological wellbeing. Implications for gamers and games production companies are considered. Why do gamers buy 'virtual assets'? An insight in to the psychology behind purchase behaviour J. Cleghorn and M. Griffiths Digital Education Review-Number 27, June 2015-
... The omission of this condition prevents the further discussion of negative psychological effects of internet addiction in a broader context. In addition to this, multiple tools offered by the Internet make harder to identify internet addiction as a behavioral disorder (Griffiths, Hussain, Grüsser, Thalemann, Cole, Davies & Chappell, 2013). In this respect, only internet gaming disorder (IGD) has found a place on DSM-5. ...
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Psikolojik ve davranışsal sorunlara yol açan sosyal medya platformlarının artan kullanımı, sosyal medya bozukluğunun diğer psikolojik yapılarla arasındaki nomolojik ağın arttırılmasına yönelik çalışmaların gerçekleştirilmesini önermektedir. Bu araştırmanın temel amacı, sağlamlık ve yaşam doyumunun sosyal medya bozukluğu üzerindeki etkisini incelemek ve nevrotiklik, olumsuz değerlilik ve deneyime açıklığın aracı rolünü belirlemektir Bu araştırma için seçilen değişkenler son çalışmaların kuramsal açıklamalarına dayanmaktadır. Üniversite öğrencileri için sosyal medya kullanım bozukluğunu ölçecek bir ölçek bulunmamasından dolayı, İngilizce dilinde mevcut bir ölçeğin güvenilirliği ve geçerlilik çalışması yapılmıştır. Daha sonra, bir yol analiz modeli oluşturularak bu model test edilmiştir. Modelin test edilmesinde kullanılan veri 9 fakültede öğrenim gören 638 öğrencinin görüşlerine başvurularak toplanmıştır. Çalışma sonucunda elde edilen bulgulara göre nevrotiklik, olumsuz değerlilik, dayanıklılık ve yaşam doyumunun üniversite öğrencileri arasında sosyal medya bozukluğunu doğrudan etkilediğine dair kanıtlar oluşturduğu görülmüştür. Ek olarak, sonuçlar, nevrotikliğin ve negatif değerliliğin bazı durumlar için aracı bir rol oynadığını göstermiştir. Bu sonuçlar araştırmacılara ve sağlık çalışanları tarafından sosyal medya bozukluklarının daha iyi anlaşılması sağlamıştır ve sosyal medya bozukluğunun olumsuz etkilerini en aza indirmek için müdahaleler geliştirirken kişilik özelliklerinin önemini dikkate almayı vurgulamaktadır.
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The study investigates the impact of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) on players’ application of vocabulary learning strategies. The participants are experienced online gamers aged between 24 and 25 years old. Apart from identifying the vocabulary learning strategies used by the ESL players during online gaming, in order to find out how aspects related to MMORPG influence the use of strategies, data were also obtained from online semi-structured interviews with these (ESL) players who are involved in Guild Wars 2, a popular MMORPG computer game. Using Gu and Johnson’s (1996) categorisation of vocabulary learning strategies (VLS), it was found that these ESL players utilise metacognitive, cognitive, memory and activation strategies in order to learn game-related vocabulary during the MMORPG game-play sessions. Additionally, there are four factors that affect the vocabulary language learning experience of the players, and they consist of; (a) the role of game storylines in enhancing MMORPG gaming immersion, (b) freedom to learn while being away from classroom-related rules, (c) social interaction that enriches players’ learning experience, and (d) the role of collaboration among the MMORPG community in enriching learning experience.
Beyond the use of social media, people now often connect with people around the globe through online gaming. There are more than one billion people worldwide who play online games, and almost one-half of the population in the U.S are video gamers (Liu, Li, & Santhanam. 2013). There are still common stereotypes that gamers lack “real” friends and hide away from social activities as social isolates because the online world is not conducive to healthy social connections (Nie, 2001, Shen & Williams, 2010; Williams, 2006). However, there are also studies showing that online connections between gamers are healthy. Research with MMORPG players found that game play helped created strong online friendships, and social motives drove player participation (Griffiths et al., 2011). A German study showed that there was no significant difference between gamers and non-gamers in terms of how to socialize with other people online (Domahidi, Festl & Quandt, 2014). To gain a better understanding of gamers’ social characteristics, the present study examined friendships in online and offline domains in a gamer group and a non-gamer group. Ninety-two gamers and fifty-nine non-gamers completed the McGill Friendship Questionnaire (Mendelson & Aboud, 2014). for their closest online and offline friend, and a general measure of personal happiness using the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (Hills and Argyle, 2002). Within group comparison found that for gamers the online friendship was of significantly higher quality than the offline friendship. For non-gamers, the opposite results were found. Of particular importance and interest in this study was the finding that the closest online friendship for the gamer group was not significantly different on any friendship dimension than the closest offline friendship for the non-gamer group, and both groups also showed no difference in general life happiness. In essence, the closest face to face friendship non-gamers enjoy looks the same as the closest online friendship reported by gamers. The results support the conclusion that gamers do have close and important friendships with other people, and that these occur online rather than face to face. The explanation could be that for gamers, their comfort in the online environment allows them to meet and grow close to others within this milieu, even though they may never meet their closest friend face to face. For further study, it will be valuable to see how this finding varies by personal qualities, such as gender, age or loneliness level.
Innerhalb von wenigen Jahrzehnten hat das Internet zahlreiche Lebensbereiche einschneidend verändert. Dieser Beitrag beleuchtet entsprechende Auswirkungen auf die psychologische Forschung und diskutiert Möglichkeiten qualitativer Forschungsvorhaben mithilfe internetbasierter Ansätze. Insbesondere die Besonderheiten von qualitativen Online-Interviews und Online-Beobachtungen werden näher beleuchtet und traditionellen Forschungsmethoden gegenübergestellt. Der Beitrag schließt mit einem Ausblick auf künftige technologische Entwicklungen wie Echtzeitmessung mittels Smartphones und der Analyse von Big Data in der Psychoinformatik, welche den Methodenkanon für qualitativ tätige Forschende erweitern.
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More and more college students are using microblogs, with some excessive users demonstrating addiction-like symptoms. However, there is currently no published scale available for use in assessing excessive use of these microblogs, a significant impediment to advancing this area of research. We collected data from 3,047 college students in China and developed a Microblog Excessive Use Scale (MEUS) for Chinese college students, comparing it with criteria used for assessing Internet addiction. Our diagnostic scale featured three factors, two of which-"withdrawal and health problem" and "time management and performance"-are already included in Internet addiction assessment scales. The third factor, "social comfort," does not appear in Internet addiction assessment scales. Our study found that females have significantly higher MEUS scores than males, and that total MEUS scores positively correlated with scores from "self-disclosure" and "real social interaction" scales. These findings differ from results obtained in previous investigations into Internet addiction. Our results indicate that some characteristics of the excessive use of microblogs are different to those of Internet addiction, suggesting that microblog overuse may not correspond exactly to the state of Internet addiction.
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Journal name is wrong; ResearchGate doesn't allow to enter Journal of Online Behavior Examined how friendships are developed in a virtual Internet world called multi-user-dungeons (MUDs). According to Social Information Processing perspective, people learn to verbalize online that which is nonverbal offline, with increasing time. The use of verbal paralanguage should be an important factor in the development of impressions. Sociability, as a general trait, and skepticism towards computer-mediated communication (CMC), as a situation-specific attitude, could also influence this process. 103 MUD users (mean age 23.5 yrs) completed a questionnaire concerning their online friendships, MUD use, attitude about MUDding, use of paralanguage, sociability, and skepticism toward CMC. 77% of the MUDders reported relationships with others. Results supported the Social Information Processing perspective: Sociability had little influence, whereas skepticism towards CMC was an important predictor …
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The major goal of relapse prevention (RP) is to address the problem of relapse and to generate techniques for preventing or managing its occurrence. Based on a cognitive-behavioral framework, RP seeks to identify high-risk situations in which an individual is vulnerable to relapse and to use both cognitive and behavioral coping strategies to prevent future relapses in similar situations. RP can be described as a tertiary prevention strategy with two specific aims: (1) preventing an initial lapse and maintaining abstinence or harm reduction treatment goals, and (2) providing lapse management if a lapse occurs, to prevent further relapse. The ultimate goal is to provide the skills to prevent a complete relapse, regardless of the situation or impending risk factors. In this chapter we summarize the major tenets of RP and the cognitive-behavioral model of relapse, including hypothesized precipitants and determinants of relapse. These latter topics are covered in greater detail in the second edition of Assessment of Addictive Behaviors (Donovan & Marlatt, 2005). We also provide a brief discussion of meta-analyses and reviews of the treatment outcome literature and controlled clinical trials incorporating RP techniques. Finally, we describe a re-conceptualization of the relapse process and propose future directions for clinical applications and research initiatives. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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It has been argued that behavior on the Internet differs from similar behavior in the “real world” (Joinson, 1998a). In the present study, participants completed measures of self-consciousness, social anxiety, self-esteem, and social desirability, using either the World-Wide Web (WWW) or pen and paper, and were assigned to either an anonymous or a nonanonymous condition. It was found that people reported lower social anxiety and social desirability and higher self-esteem when they were anonymous than when they were nonanonymous. Furthermore, participants also reported lower social anxiety and social desirability when they were using the Internet than when they were using paper-based methods. Contrast analyses supported the prediction that participants using the WWW anonymously would show the lowest levels of social desirability, whereas participants answering with pen and paper nonanonymously would score highest on the same measure. Implications for the use of the Internet for the collection of psychological data are discussed.
This chapter explores whether massively multiplayer online role-play games (MMORPGs) can be used effectively to support learning and training communities. The chapter aims to propose that cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of game-based learning are needed to support better synthesis of our current understanding of the effectiveness of learning with games. The chapter therefore includes a brief literature review of online gaming research to date, taken from psychological and educational research perspectives. The chapter explores the main types of online games and highlights the main themes of research undertaken through a consideration of the use of online gaming in current learning and training contexts where online gaming is being used to support experiential and discovery learning approaches. This chapter indicates future directions for cross-disciplinary research approaches in this field and considers how collaborative learning could best be supported through this approach.
Just as with most other communication breakthroughs before it, the initial media and popular reaction to the Internet has been largely negative, if not apocalyptic. For example, it has been described as “awash in pornography”, and more recently as making people “sad and lonely.” Yet, counter to the initial and widely publi cized claim that Internet use causes depression and social isolation, the body of ev idence (even in the initial study on which the claim was based) is mainly to the con trary. More than this, however, it is argued that like the telephone and television before it, the Internet by itself is not a main effect cause of anything, and that psy chology must move beyond this notion to an informed analysis of how social iden tity, social interaction, and relationship formation may be different on the Internet than in real life. Four major differences and their implications for self and identity, social interaction, and relationships are identified: one's greater anonymity, the greatly reduced importance of physical appearance and physical distance as “gating features” to relationship development, and one's greater control over the time and pace of interactions. Existing research is reviewed along these lines and some promising directions for future research are described.
Home computer game playing appears to be one of the social and leisure phenomena of the nineties, yet there is still little known about the acquisition, development, and maintenance of computer game playing among children and adolescents. A survey of 147 eleven-year-old computer game players attending a summer camp revealed that their main reasons for playing were for fun, for a challenge, because there was nothing else to do, and because their friends did. Males played computer games significantly more regularly than did females and were significantly more likely to play sports simulation games and violent games. Females were found to play platform games and puzzlers significantly more than did males. It is suggested that computer game playing for most children is a fairly absorbing and harmless activity but that, for a small minority of children, it may be problematic.
Video games and gambling often contain very similar elements with both providing intermittent rewards and elements of randomness. Furthermore, at a psychological and behavioral level, slot machine gambling, video lottery terminal (VLT) gambling and video game playing share many of the same features. Despite the similarities between video game playing and gambling there have been very few studies that have specifically examined video game playing in relation to gambling behavior. This study inquired about the nature of adolescent video game playing, gambling activities, and associated factors. A questionnaire was completed by 996 (549 females, 441 males, 6 unspecified) participants from grades 7–11, who ranged in age from 10–17 years. Overall, the results of the study found a clear relationship between video game playing and gambling in adolescents, with problem gamblers being significantly more likely than non-problem gamblers or non-gamblers to spend excessive amounts of time playing video games. Problem gamblers were also significantly more likely than non-problem gamblers or non-gamblers to rate themselves as very good or excellent video game players. Furthermore, problem gamblers were more likely to report that they found video games, similar to electronic machine gambling, to promote dissociation and to be arousing and/or relaxing.
Computer game playing is a popular activity among adolescents yet there have been no systematic studies in the U.K. on its prevalence and its demographics. A questionnaire study was undertaken with 387 adolescents (12–16 years of age) to establish the time spent playing computer games, who they first started playing with, the reasons why they first started and why they play now and negative consequences of play. Results revealed that for many adolescents, home computer game playing can take up considerable time with 7% of the sample playing for at least 30 hours a week. Although there were no differences between males and females in who played computer games, it was established that males were found to play significantly more regularly than females.