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Me, My Spouse, and My Avatar: The Relationship between Marital Satisfaction and Playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)

Michelle Ahlstrom, Neil R. Lundberg, Ramon Zabriskie, Dennis Eggett, Gordon B. Lindsay


A variety of online support groups exist for “gaming widows” who feel their spousal relationship has been displaced by time spent playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game(s) (MMORPGs). MMORPG research has been presented on youth and adults, however to date, there is no research on married gamers to support or refute the claims of discontented spouses. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the gaming behaviors of couples who play MMORPGs. The sample included 349 couples. Results indicated lower marital satisfaction related to couples’ MMORPG gaming interactions such as quarrelling about gaming, not retiring to bed at the same time, and addictive gaming behavior. Positive effects of gaming together were also identified.


Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG); couple leisure; marital satisfaction; gaming addiction

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