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The effect of social support derived from World of Warcraft on negative psychological symptoms

Longman, Huon, O'Connor, Erin L., & Obst, Patricia L. (2009) The effect of social support derived from World of Warcraft on negative psychological symptoms. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 12(5), pp. 563-566.

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Abstract

Previous research examining players of Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) suggests that players form meaningful relationships with each other. Other research indicates that people may derive social support from online sources and this social support has been associated with greater wellbeing. This study used an online survey of players (N = 206) of the MMOG “World of Warcraft” (WoW) to examine if social support can be derived from MMOGs, and to examine its relationship with negative psychological symptoms. Players of WoW were found to derive social support from playing and a positive relationship was found between game engagement and levels of in-game social support. Higher levels of in-game social support were associated with fewer negative psychological symptoms, although this effect was not maintained after accounting for social support derived from the offline sources. Additionally, a small subsample of players (N = 21) were identified that played for between 44 and 82 hours per week (M = 63.33). These players had significantly lower levels of offline social support and higher levels of negative symptoms compared to the rest of the sample. This study provides evidence that social support can be derived from MMOGs and the associated potential to promote well being, but also highlights the potential harm from spending excessive hours playing.

Impact and interest:

13 citations in Scopus
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13 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 27307
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Social Support, Internet, Online Gaming, Psychological Well-being, Sense of Community
DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0001
ISSN: 1094-9313
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Mary Ann Liebert,Inc. Publishers
Deposited On: 10 Sep 2009 09:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:56

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