A Study on the Efficacy of the Tabletop Roleplaying Game Dungeons & Dragons for Improving Mental Health and Self-Concepts in a Community Sample

Games Health J. 2024 Apr;13(2):128-133. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2023.0158.

Abstract

Purpose: Tabletop gaming has seen a rise in popularity over the past 10 years, with an influx of interest following the Coronavirus pandemic. Limited research has explored the impact of tabletop roleplaying games on mental health and self-concepts such as self-esteem and self-efficacy. This study used a repeated-measures design with four measurement points to quantitatively evaluate the effect of playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) on mental health and self-concepts in a community sample. Materials and Methods: Twenty-five community participants took part in 8 weeks of D&D gameplay (one 1 hour session per week), completing pre-, mid-, and postintervention surveys. Eighteen of these participants also completed a 1-month follow-up measure. Results: Participants demonstrated significant decreases in depression, stress, and anxiety and significant increases in self-esteem and self-efficacy over the study period. Conclusion: As such, D&D may have potential utility as a wellbeing intervention or prevention program.

Keywords: Dungeons and dragons; Mental health; Self-concept; Tabletop gaming; Tabletop roleplaying games.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Camphor
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Menthol
  • Salicylates*
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Efficacy

Substances

  • methyl salicylate
  • Camphor
  • Menthol
  • Salicylates