Exploring the relationships between psychological variables and loot box engagement, part 1: pre-registered hypotheses

Close, James ORCID: 0000-0002-9316-034X, Spicer, Stuart Gordon ORCID: 0000-0001-7585-8886, Nicklin, Laura Louise ORCID: 0000-0002-6195-9501, Uther, Maria, Whalley, Ben, Fullwood, Chris ORCID: 0000-0002-7714-6783, Parke, Jonathan, Lloyd, Joanne and Lloyd, Helen (2023) Exploring the relationships between psychological variables and loot box engagement, part 1: pre-registered hypotheses. Royal Society Open Science, 10 (12). Art 231045. doi:10.1098/rsos.231045

13577 Close et al. (2023) Exploring the relationships between psychological variables and loot box engagement part 1.pdf - Published Version
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Loot boxes are purchasable randomized rewards in video games that share structural and psychological similarities with gambling. Systematic review evidence has established reproducible associations between loot box purchasing and both problem gambling and problem video gaming, perhaps driven by a range of overlapping psychological processes (e.g. impulsivity, gambling-related cognitions, etc.) It has also been argued that loot box engagement may have negative influences on player financial and psychological wellbeing. We conducted a pre-registered survey of 1495 loot box purchasing gamers (LB cohort) and 1223 gamers who purchase other, non-randomized game content (nLB cohort). Our survey confirms 15 of our 23 pre-registered hypotheses against our primary outcome (risky loot box engagement), establishing associations with problem gambling, problem gaming, impulsivity, gambling cognitions, experiences of game-related ‘flow’ and specific ‘distraction and compulsion’ motivations for purchase. Results with hypotheses concerning potential harms established that risky loot box engagement was negatively correlated with wellbeing and positively correlated with distress. Overall, results indicate that any risks from loot boxes are liable to disproportionately affect various ‘at risk’ cohorts (e.g. those experiencing problem gambling or video gaming), thereby reiterating calls for policy action on loot boxes.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by funding from the charity GambleAware (a UK-based independent charity and strategic commissioner of gambling harm education, prevention, early intervention and treatment), and thus (via the funding model for GambleAware) the work was indirectly supported by voluntary contributions to GambleAware from the gambling industry.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wellbeing; Loot boxes; Digital harms; Gambling; Video gaming; Addictive behaviours
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Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
SWORD Depositor: Pubrouter
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2024 10:38
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2024 10:45
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/13577

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