Date of Submission

Fall 2021

Academic Program

Psychology; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Richard Lopez

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Female gamers frequently experience harassment from other players while playing online first person shooters and are frequently alienated from the online gaming community. Sexism within the video game community also manifests through the underrepresentation and sexualization of female characters, both of which have been shown to increase sexist attitudes (Bushman and Laroi, 2019, Dill et al 2008). The present study examined harassment towards women while playing online video games, as well as effects of harassment on mental health and gender masking behaviors. Additionally, the present study examined how the gender ratio of characters within a game affects harassment towards female players. First, I hypothesized that women playing online first person shooter games in which there is a higher percentage of female characters will experience less harassment than games with fewer female characters. I also hypothesized that the amount of harassment women face while playing a first person shooter game is correlated negatively with mental health outcomes, such that more frequent harassment will be associated with poorer mental health (e.g., depressive symptoms and anxiety). Lastly, I hypothesized that women who more readily experience harassment while playing a first person shooter game will be more likely to conceal their gender and engage in other protective behaviors to avoid harassment. Results indicated no effect of gender ratio on harassment. I also found no correlation between harassment and mental health. However, there were strong relationships between harassment and gender masking, such that female players who experienced more harassment were more likely to mask their gender from other players. The results highlight several ways in which women are affected by sexism within the video game community. Additional implications and limitations are discussed.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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