Main > Studies on Role-Playing Games


In years gone by, it was fairly common to hear certain talk-show guests, moral pundits, and paranoid parents' groups make claims of studies on the dangers of role-playing games.

If any of those claims had ever been questioned, the truth would have come out very quickly - those studies never existed. In reality, the reverse is true - there are numerous studies on the positive educational, developmental, and social effects that roleplaying has on the participants.

The best place to find information on these studies is, which includes over 70 different listings on different topics and aspects of the roleplaying hobby. Only a few of the studies are available online - unfortunately, publishing each of them on the site is not possible. But there is enough information on the majority of the other entries to allow you to contact the author or publishing journal for more information.

Below are some examples of the studies you'll find on the site:

Blackmon, Wayne D. (1994). Dungeons and Dragons: The Use of a Fantasy Game in the Psychotherapeutic Treatment of a Young Adult.. "A schizoid young man made a methodical attempt at suicide. He revealed a paucity of object attachments leading to profound isolation. His early upbring led him to extreme isolation of affect and a fear of fragmentation. His inner life was not safely reachable by conventional therapy. After he became involved in playing a fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons, the therapy was modified to use the game material as displaced, waking fantasy. This fantasy was used as a safe guide to help the patient learn to acknowledge and express his inner self in a safe and guided way. The patient ultimately matured and developed healthier object relations and a better life."

Carter, Robert & Lester, David (1998). Personalities of Players of Dungeons and Dragons. "20 men who played Dungeons and Dragons did not differ in mean scores on depression, suicidal ideation, psychoticism, extraversion, or neuroticism from unselected undergraduates."

Douse, Neil A. & McManus, Ian Chris (1993). The Personality of Fantasy Game Players. A comparison of personality types between play-by-mail RPG players and non-players.



As great as it is, the site doesn't list everything. Here are other items of interest:

 The International Journal of Role-Playing - "The International Journal of Role-Playing is a response to a growing need for a place where the varied and wonderful fields of role-playing research and development, covering academia, the industry and the arts, can exchange knowledge and research, form networks and communicate."

W.A. Hawke Robinson's RPG Research Project can be found at As the site describes it:

A multi-stage (earliest stages being developed currently), large scale (more than 1,000 participants), long term (spanning years), multi-variable, triple-blind research study on the therapeutic aspects of role playing gaming. The purpose is to determine the CAUSAL characteristics of role playing games, rather than relying on correlative data as many other studies have done in the past. The first stages of this project (early thesis drafts and discussions with university psychology department heads) began in 2003, and are incrementally progressing.

David Waldron's article Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic appeared in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

This article examines the impact of the role-playing game “moral panic” on the role-playing game community and investigates the responses and coping mechanisms utilised by those directly targeted and harassed by churches, the police, schools and governments during the height of the “moral panic” in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The article also investigates the effect that the shared experience of being targeted by a “moral panic” had on the formation of a role-playing counter culture and community.

If you know of other studies, completed or ongoing, that should be included in this list, feel free to contact me: