Tourism, migration, and the exodus to virtual worlds: place attachment in massively multiplayer online gamers

Coulson, Mark, Oskis, Andrea, Spencer, Robert and Gould, Rebecca L. (2019) Tourism, migration, and the exodus to virtual worlds: place attachment in massively multiplayer online gamers. Psychology of Popular Media Culture . ISSN 2160-4134 (Published online first) (doi:10.1037/ppm0000244)

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Place attachment to both physical and virtual places was investigated in an online survey of massively multiplayer online gamers. Participants (N=740) completed a place attachment inventory once for the place in the physical world which they considered home, and once for a place in a virtual world they felt attached to. In addition, measures of personality, gaming motivation, life satisfaction, attachment style, and identification with online avatars were taken. Results suggested that place identity, place uniqueness, and place social bonding were higher for physical places than for virtual places, but that place affect was higher for virtual places. A small number of participants (N=55, 7%) identified virtual ‘homes’, which participants felt were more special and which they identified more strongly with than other virtual places, and that were as unique and associated with an equal sense of belonging to physical homes. Results are interpreted through the lens of migration theory, and recommendations made for future research into digital domiciles and migration.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 27162
Notes on copyright: ©American Psychological Association, 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:
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Depositing User: Mark Coulson
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2019 15:45
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2019 01:22

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