Pop culture and social insertion: How can play in adolescence and adulthood be “therapeutic”?

  • Anne M. Goodall Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
  • Alexis H. Truong Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Keywords: Mental health, role-playing, well-being, social insertion, marginalisation

Abstract

In this study we explore how participation in tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) fosters experiences of social insertion in adolescence and adulthood. We conducted semi-directed interviews with nine participants who identified themselves as having used such practices to overcome difficult and challenging life experiences. We look at how participants interpreted their play experiences, described by some as “therapeutic.” Through TTRPGs, players were able to explore and better understand aspects of themselves, explore new interactions, and “test” new ways of expressing themselves. Additionally, participants were able to develop their interpersonal skills by participating in such practices, namely because of the roleplaying element. Participants stated that these practices and their therapeutic qualities also had positive effects on their lives outside of the game, helping them to enter and engage in various social situations that they previously felt excluded from, or hesitant to participate in. We argue that social interventions could invest in these types of cultural practices, embedded in popular culture, to encourage and facilitate participation of adolescents and adults in mental health services.

 

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Published
2021-03-19
How to Cite
Goodall, A. M., & Truong, A. H. (2021). Pop culture and social insertion: How can play in adolescence and adulthood be “therapeutic”?. Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being, 6(1), 17-21. https://doi.org/10.35502/jcswb.178
Section
Original Research