Master of Arts (M.A.)
Degree Granting Department
Scott S. Liu, Ph.D.
Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.
Jameson Hayes, Ph.D.
avatar, communication, identification, MMORPG, self-esteem, social capital
This study explored the relationship between people who play massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs) and their avatars, as well as the impact on players’ self-esteem and perceived social capital in the real world. To examine these influences of online video gameplay, this research investigated gamers who play the popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft (WoW). This study employed an online survey made available on Reddit, a widely-used news, entertainment, and social-networking website, in which all the content is user-generated. The research questionnaire was intended to reveal the bond between MMORPG players and their avatars; the study examined how this relationship could influence MMORPG players’ confidence in themselves and advance their network of relationships in the real world. The strength of the WoW players’ identification with their avatar did have some impact on their self-esteem in the real world; however, there was no significant relationship between avatar self-identification and perceived social capital in the real world. Additionally, this research did reveal a substantial correlation between self-esteem and perceived social capital in the real world.
Scholar Commons Citation
Watts, Melissa, "Avatar Self-Identification, Self-Esteem, and Perceived Social Capital in the Real World: A Study of World of Warcraft Players and their Avatars" (2016). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.