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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 464685, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/464685
Review Article

Impact of Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games upon the Psychosocial Well-Being of Adolescents and Young Adults: Reviewing the Evidence

1The Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, UK
2Rehabilitation Sciences, The Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, UK

Received 30 November 2012; Revised 4 March 2013; Accepted 4 March 2013

Academic Editor: Umberto Albert

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Scott and Alison P. Porter-Armstrong. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Introduction. For many people, the online environment has become a significant arena for everyday living, and researchers are beginning to explore the multifaceted nature of human interaction with the Internet. The burgeoning global popularity and distinct design features of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have received particular attention, and discourses about the phenomenon suggest both positive and negative impact upon gamer health. Aim. The purpose of this paper was to critically appraise the research literature to determine if playing MMORPGs impacts upon the psychosocial well-being of adolescents and young adults. Method. Initial searches were conducted on nine databases spanning the years 2002 to 2012 using key words, such as online gaming, internet gaming, psychosocial, and well-being, which, in addition to hand searching, identified six studies meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria for this review. Results. All six studies strongly associated MMORPG playing with helpful and harmful impact to the psychosocial well-being of the populations under study; however due to the methodologies employed, only tentative conclusions may be drawn. Conclusion. Since both helpful and harmful effects were reported, further multidisciplinary research is recommended to specifically explore the clinical implications and therapeutic potentialities of this modern, growing phenomenon.