Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



This thesis seeks to address the representation of mental illnesses within the video game genre, specifically within horror video games. Horror video games have a history of relying on the mentally ill to increase the “fear factor” of games, though often do not seem to do proper research, as the portrayals often rely on stigmas and misconstruals on the mental illness being portrayed. This can lead to those who play aforementioned video games to develop subconscious stigmas and biases towards those who are mentally ill. Through a literary analysis of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Omori, examples of negative and positive portrayals of mental illnesses within the horror genre can be found. This analysis allows for the realization that mental illnesses can be utilized within horror settings without being damaging representations or promoting various misconceptions. Following this is discussion of a study conducted to test the relationship between one playing horror video games in any capacity and levels of stigma towards mental illness and/or those who have them. The findings indicate that those who play horror video games have higher levels of stigma than those who do not.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Sungjin Im, Ph.D.



Included in

Psychology Commons