Psychosocial impacts of engaging in Second Life for individuals with physical disabilities

Camilla Kleban, Linda Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The psychological experiences associated with engagement in virtual worlds have been well documentedin the existing literature. The current study aimed to explore the motivations, experiences and psycho-social impacts of engaging in the virtual world ‘‘Second Life’’. This aimed to extend previous findingsby specifically exploring the phenomenological experiences within a sample of individuals with physicaldisabilities. This was achieved by conducting in-world interviews with five participants, comprising arange of physical disabilities. Through thematic analysis of the interviews transcripts, a number ofthemes were identified. Quality of life, self-esteem and recreational therapy were identified as positivepsychological outcomes of engagement in Second Life. These were found to occur through a number ofprocesses such as self-discovery, relaxation, and perception of in-world equality. Further, the socialand environmental opportunities emerged as key motivations for engagement in Second Life. These find-ings extend the current literature by providing evidence for the way in which Second Life provides impor-tant leisure opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities, and the way in which theseexperiences are associated with positive psychological outcomes. The implications of these findings high-light the clinical relevance of such platforms for this particular population of individuals
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume45
Early online date18 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Dec 2014

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