Loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent gamers: Findings from a national survey

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Abstract

Loot boxes represent a form of microtransaction in many video games that have some resemblance with gambling. Research on this subject is still in its infancy, and particular there are few studies involving young people. Using cross-sectional survey data from a representative sample of 1,137 participants aged 12–16 years, this study examined loot box engagement patterns and links with problem gambling severity. Nearly half (45.6%) of the participants that were involved in gaming in the past year engaged in loot box activities at some level, and loot box users were predominantly male. The vast majority of the males (93%) had earned, bought, or sold items from a loot box whereas 15% of the females reported engagement with loot boxes. There was a significant positive correlation between loot box engagement and problem gambling severity when controlling for core demo-graphic factors. Compared to participants with no engagement or participants who solely obtained a loot box, the proportions of at-risk and problem gamblers were higher among those, who had purchased or sold items from a loot box. The findings provide new insights into the links between loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent populations. Specifically, the study provides new knowledge on different engagement patterns among loot box users and their implications. On this basis, different measures to reduce loot box purchases and reduce marketplace structures are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAddictive Behaviors
ISSN0306-4603
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jan 2019

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gambling
adolescent
computer game
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@article{8f3120233c0c4d55b0d530edd69707f3,
title = "Loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent gamers: Findings from a national survey",
abstract = "Loot boxes represent a form of microtransaction in many video games that have some resemblance with gambling. Research on this subject is still in its infancy, and particular there are few studies involving young people. Using cross-sectional survey data from a representative sample of 1,137 participants aged 12–16 years, this study examined loot box engagement patterns and links with problem gambling severity. Nearly half (45.6{\%}) of the participants that were involved in gaming in the past year engaged in loot box activities at some level, and loot box users were predominantly male. The vast majority of the males (93{\%}) had earned, bought, or sold items from a loot box whereas 15{\%} of the females reported engagement with loot boxes. There was a significant positive correlation between loot box engagement and problem gambling severity when controlling for core demo-graphic factors. Compared to participants with no engagement or participants who solely obtained a loot box, the proportions of at-risk and problem gamblers were higher among those, who had purchased or sold items from a loot box. The findings provide new insights into the links between loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent populations. Specifically, the study provides new knowledge on different engagement patterns among loot box users and their implications. On this basis, different measures to reduce loot box purchases and reduce marketplace structures are discussed.",
author = "Kristiansen, {S{\o}ren Ginnerup} and Severin, {Majbritt Christine}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
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doi = "/doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106254",
language = "English",
journal = "Addictive Behaviors",
issn = "0306-4603",
publisher = "Pergamon Press",

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T1 - Loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent gamers: Findings from a national survey

AU - Kristiansen, Søren Ginnerup

AU - Severin, Majbritt Christine

PY - 2019/1/2

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N2 - Loot boxes represent a form of microtransaction in many video games that have some resemblance with gambling. Research on this subject is still in its infancy, and particular there are few studies involving young people. Using cross-sectional survey data from a representative sample of 1,137 participants aged 12–16 years, this study examined loot box engagement patterns and links with problem gambling severity. Nearly half (45.6%) of the participants that were involved in gaming in the past year engaged in loot box activities at some level, and loot box users were predominantly male. The vast majority of the males (93%) had earned, bought, or sold items from a loot box whereas 15% of the females reported engagement with loot boxes. There was a significant positive correlation between loot box engagement and problem gambling severity when controlling for core demo-graphic factors. Compared to participants with no engagement or participants who solely obtained a loot box, the proportions of at-risk and problem gamblers were higher among those, who had purchased or sold items from a loot box. The findings provide new insights into the links between loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent populations. Specifically, the study provides new knowledge on different engagement patterns among loot box users and their implications. On this basis, different measures to reduce loot box purchases and reduce marketplace structures are discussed.

AB - Loot boxes represent a form of microtransaction in many video games that have some resemblance with gambling. Research on this subject is still in its infancy, and particular there are few studies involving young people. Using cross-sectional survey data from a representative sample of 1,137 participants aged 12–16 years, this study examined loot box engagement patterns and links with problem gambling severity. Nearly half (45.6%) of the participants that were involved in gaming in the past year engaged in loot box activities at some level, and loot box users were predominantly male. The vast majority of the males (93%) had earned, bought, or sold items from a loot box whereas 15% of the females reported engagement with loot boxes. There was a significant positive correlation between loot box engagement and problem gambling severity when controlling for core demo-graphic factors. Compared to participants with no engagement or participants who solely obtained a loot box, the proportions of at-risk and problem gamblers were higher among those, who had purchased or sold items from a loot box. The findings provide new insights into the links between loot box engagement and problem gambling among adolescent populations. Specifically, the study provides new knowledge on different engagement patterns among loot box users and their implications. On this basis, different measures to reduce loot box purchases and reduce marketplace structures are discussed.

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