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Study: Online role-playing games hurt marital satisfaction

Study: Online role-playing games hurt marital satisfaction

The fantasy world of role-playing video games may be negatively affecting your real world relationships, according to a new study from Brigham Young University.

The study, published in the Journal of Leisure Research, found that 75 percent of the spouses of those who regularly play fantasy role-playing games, like World of Warcraft, wish their partner would spend less time gaming and more time on their marriage.

Researchers Michelle Ahlstrom, and Neil Lundberg examined 349 couples in which one or both partners play online fantasy role-playing games. The study revealed it’s not the time spent playing games that caused dissatisfaction, but rather the resulting arguments or disrupted bedtime routines. These issues can cause problems such as poorer marital adjustment, less time spent together in shared activities and less serious conversation, Lundberg said.

Not all marriages are negatively affected by gaming.

The study found that couples in which both spouses play, 76 percent said that gaming has a positive affect on their marital relationship. For those who do game together, interacting with each others avatars leads to higher marital satisfaction.

“We didn’t realize that there was a whole group of couples who game together,” Lundberg said. “In those gaming couples where the marital satisfaction was low the same issues existed. For example, if they argued about gaming and bedtime rituals were interrupted, even though they gamed together, they still had a lower marital satisfaction scores.”

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