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Grief play in massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) refers to play styles involving the disruption of the gaming experience of others. Despite grief players representing a devastating and sometimes ubiquitous presence in the world of online gaming, griefers have received limited academic attention. In the first effort to identify the griefer using a quantitative measurement, we developed a 32 item self-report scale designed to measure the disruptive, in-game behaviors of MMORPG gamers. We administered the scale to 583 MMORPG players across two studies. In our first study, factor analysis revealed that our scale was uni-dimensional. In our second study we made an effort to establish convergent validity with the hypothesis that the grief play measurement was positively correlated with sub-clinical psychopathy, Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and sadism while being negatively correlated with altruism. The validity of our scale was supported with strong correlations between the grief play scale and the personality characteristics we investigated, with the exception of altruism which was found to be uncorrelated with the grief play scale. Theoretical explanations for these finding are discussed.

Ongoing research continues to examine the validity of the grief play measurement by seeking correlations of the scale with antisocial motivations for play and with character attachment. Methodological complications and future research directions are discussed.


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Subject
    • Psychological Science

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Robinson Ballroom B

  • Event date
    • 1 April 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Susann Doyle-Portillo