On Therapy and Dependency
In earlier data, we've seen how some players use MMOs as a therapeutic tool to cope with stress and emotional trauma. In a recent survey, I asked players to talk more about this intersection of online games and psychological stressors and whether MMOs helped or hurt them in dealing with the stressor. One thing that struck me was the variety of psychological stressors players described that MMOs provide an outlet for. These ranged from chronic stress to physical disability and need for social support among others. While the narratives below show that MMOs can be therapeutic, they also show that using MMOs as coping mechanisms can lead to destructive vicious cycles. In this article, we'll take a closer look at this gray area between therapy and dependency.
Of course, the point isn't that MMO players in general have psychological problems and are all using MMOs as coping mechanisms, but this is an important area to look into because of the potential and positive and negative consequences.
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