Role-Playing Game Research

The therapeutic applications of role-playing games and the effects of role-playing games are continually emerging areas of research and we’ve highlighted a few relevant articles from peer-reviewed journals below.


Game to Grow has also partnered with foundry10 to research the benefits of TA-RPGs. Click here to learn more about our research partnership with foundry10.


Research Articles on TA-RPGs:

Abbott, M. S., Stauss, K. A., & Burnett, A. F. (2022). Table-top role-playing games as a therapeutic intervention with adults to increase social connectedness. Social Work with Groups, 45(1), 16-31.


Abyeta, S. (1991). Relationship of role-playing games to self-reported criminal behavior. Psychological Reports, 69(8), 1187-1192. 


Arenas, D. L., Viduani, A., & Araujo, R. B. (2022). Therapeutic use of role-playing game (RPG) in mental health: A scoping review. Simulation & Gaming.


Baker, I. S., Turner, I. J., & Kotera, Y. (2022). Role-play Games (RPGs) for Mental Health (Why Not?): Roll for Initiative. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-9.


Blackmon, W. D. (1994). Dungeons and dragons: The use of a fantasy game in the psychotherapeutic treatment of a young adult. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 48 (4), 624–632. 


Carter, R., & Lester, D. (1998). Personalities of players of Dungeons and Dragons. Psychological Reports,82(1), 182-182. 


Chung, T. (2012). Table-top role playing game and creativity. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 8, 56-71. 


Cragoe, N. G. (2015). RPG mythos: Narrative gaming as modern mythmaking. Games and Culture,11(6), 583-607. 


Crookall, D. (2010). Serious games, debriefing, and simulation/gaming as a discipline. Simulation & Gaming, 41, 898-920. 


Daniau, S. (2016). The transformative potential of role-playing games—: From play skills to human skills. Simulation and Gaming, 47(4), 423-444. 


Derenard, L. A. (1990). Alienation and the game Dungeons and Dragons. Psychological Reports, 66(3), 1219-1222. 


Deterding, S. (2018). Alibis for adult play. Games and Culture,13(3), 260-279. 


Elms, A. C. (1966). Influence of fantasy ability on attitude change through role playing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4(1), 36–43. 


Garcia, A. (2017). Privilege, power, and Dungeons & Dragons: How systems shape racial and gender identities in tabletop role-playing games. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 24(3), 232-246. 


Henrich, S., & Worthington, R. (2021). Let your clients fight dragons: A Rapid Evidence Assessment regarding the therapeutic utility of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 1-19.


Kapitany, R., Hampejs, T., & Goldstein, T. R. (2022). Pretensive shared reality: From childhood pretense to adult imaginative play. Frontiers in Psychology, 614.


Kato, K. (2019). Employing tabletop role-playing games (TRPGs) in social communication support measures for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Japan: A hands-on report on the use of leisure activities. Japanese Journal of Analog Role-Playing Game Studies, 0, 23-28. 


Lancaster, K. (1994). Do role-playing games promote crime, satanism and suicide among players as critics claim? The Journal of Popular Culture,28(2), 67-79. 


Lis, E., Chiniara, C., Biskin, R., & Montoro, R. (2015). Psychiatrists’ perceptions of role-playing games. Psychiatric Quarterly, 86(3), 381-384. 


Raghuraman, R. S. (2000). Dungeons and Dragons: Dealing with emotional and behavioral issues of an adolescent with diabetes. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 27(1), 27–39. 


Rosselet, J. G., & Stauffer, S. D. (2013). Using group role-playing games with gifted children and adolescents: A psychosocial intervention model. International Journal of Play Therapy, 22(4), 173–192. 


Simkins, D. W., & Steinkuehler, C. (2008). Critical ethical reasoning and role-play. Games and Culture,3(3-4), 333-355. 


Thorhauge, A. M. (2013). The rules of the game – the rules of the player. Games and Culture,8(6), 371-391. 


Wright, J. C., Weissglass, D. E., & Casey, V. (2017). Imaginative role-playing as a medium for  moral development. Journal of Humanistic Psychology,1-31. 


If you are interested in learning more about related literature and the theoretical support for TA-RPGs, check out our training program! If you know of an article from a peer-reviewed journal that should be included, please send the citation to